Anyhow, the point was that officers focused on their own careers are corrosive to trust and relationships. Natynczyck's recommendation: declare success and move on. That is, become comfortable with where you are at and focus on the job and not on where one stands. He mentioned how there were two and three star generals/admirals who viewed not getting that next star as a failure, which he found laughable.
This really struck home as I have been thinking lately about career stuff, perhaps because I am happy with my job, or perhaps because I am now a Full Professor, which means there is no more promotions to be had. So Natynczyk's question rang in my head: when can an academic declare success? The most likely responses, I would guess, are:
- When one completes their PhD.
- When they get their first publication.
- When they get their first tenure track job.
- When their work is cited for the first time.
- When they get they get tenure.
But I have reached the point where I think I can declare victory/success, and focus on doing what is fun and right and good and not so much on what is necessary for the next job/promotion/ambition. I wish I reached that point earlier--my last years at McGill would have been far more enjoyable. Hell, my time at Texas Tech would have been more enjoyable as well, as my pursuit of my career did sometimes impact what I was doing.
Anyhow, I do like the idea of declaring success so that one can focus on doing what is good instead of doing what is good for one's career. Of course, it is easy to say and hard to do when one is stuck in a spot where one does not want to be.