In the competitive working world, many job seekers think of titles as the currency of our time.
Millennials even take pay cuts in return for a more impressive-sounding role — sometimes losing as much as $10,000 in the process. But a better title doesn't necessarily equate to a faster or more direct career progression. To be clear: Your role absolutely matters, but it shouldn't be your primary motivator. To make real career progress, focus on skill development instead.
At three points in my career, I've taken a step down and accepted a lower title and salary. Without any context, I know this sounds like a misguided decision. But every step I took down the corporate ladder was intentional and helped me achieve greater long-term success, both in terms of achievements and compensation. Each new role taught me the skills I needed for my long-term growth and got me closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a product leader.
You need to prove your worth by forgetting your ego.
So many people are laser-focused on scoring a higher role. But if you lack the fundamental capabilities required to perform the job well, what's the point? Ignoring the fluff of a title and challenging yourself to learn new skills will help you grow in the long term, not just get to that next promotion. I've seen countless people move up the ranks early in their careers, only to plateau because they don't have the necessary skills to continue growing. If you have a solid foundation of skills, you can create new opportunities for yourself as you travel through your career.