I have searched for advice about this online but can only find items about changing jobs for a lower position.

I have worked at a company for 7 years and i started right at the bottom, switched departments after 2 years to IT (from the general reporting) and in the grand scheme of things on the company's progression system i am now around 3/4 of the way up the ladder.

A few years back i went off with stress and when i came back things were easier, but as the years have gone on, i gained more and more responsibility. I am still am not as resistant to stress as i once was, and i no longer care for progression. Each week in work is like a jagged line of stress and easy moments....all i want is a nice level line.

I am thinking about asking to opt out of the progression system (which is possible) and take a gradual step back from my responsibilities so i can enjoy my life more and not worry or work late every now and then, and to have more peaceful work days. I wonder if this is all a fantasy in my head though.

I guess what i am looking for is advice on how to go about this, or alternatives? i do like my company and they pay well (so am happy to take a cut) so i wouldn't want to move to another company ideally. Its just the randomness of the work and responsibility that's getting to me.

Any help would be appreciated,thank you in advance

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    I think only your management can help you here. This is a rather vague question. If they value you as a employee, they can go with this. – Matiss Jul 21 '15 at 15:26
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    Question is to vague to give a proper answer. Middle management positions exist that do not require much overtime and have a steady workload. In your industry and your location? Hard to say. Little enough overtime? Hard to say. Steady enough workload? Hard to say. Since a change of company isn't ideal for you here, talk to HR and your manager about it. – Myles Jul 21 '15 at 15:35
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    This question reads like you want to sit back and coast for the rest of your career. It will depend on your company culture and locale, but in most places, you're like to have your nice, easy job taken away from you if things turn bad and they need to reduce their staff. – Kent A. Jul 21 '15 at 16:24

You need to be able to talk honestly with your manager, essentially saying what you've said here: that the stress is a problem, and you'd like to step back down in responsibility (and pay), and ask if that is a possibility.

You'll need to specifically address some of the manager's concerns.

  • Be clear that you're willing to accept the pay cut that goes with stepping down. And if you only go back to the top of the pay grade for that job, that you are fine with not getting annual raises.
  • Indicate what job you think would be the one you would most prefer, and give reasons why it would also benefit the company for you to do that job. Give solid reasons for why you will not be bored in that job, and how you can still grow and get better doing it. If the person currently in that job has potential moving up, that should also be pointed out as a benefit.
  • Let the manager know that you want to continue working for this company, and point out some of the benefits for you and for the company.

You'll need to find ways for this to benefit the company, not just you. But if you can present it that way, it's possible they will go for it. Realize that if someone else is doing the job you want, it may not be something that happens right away, so talk about the process for making that happen, too.


It really does depend very heavily on your relationship with your management team and the culture (or lack thereof!) of the company. I've worked for big and small companies which have the humanity and wisdom to understand that not everybody wants to progress their career by taking the management track. There have been more than enough studies to prove that happy employees are more productive employees though sadly not all companies are enlightened enough to know this! Without knowing the particular details my best advice is to be transparent with your manager about your desire to be in more of an individual contributor (IC) role. Doing this will result in one of two things:

  1. You'll find out you work with great people in a great company and they'll help you find a role where you'll be happier (and thus more productive for them!) -or-
  2. You'll discover the company isn't as nice as thought and end up leaving them which long term will likely be better for you.

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