Good people of GWJ,
I find myself with a dilemma I'm having a hard time resolving. I have an opportunity for advancement that would be good for my career, but might make me miserable.
I'm 43, and I've been a mechanical designer at my current job for going on thirteen years. Starting while in school, I've been fortunate to be employed in the drafting/designing field for one company or another for over 20 years--and I still find it extremely rewarding.
I've reached a point where I'm highly regarded among the engineers for whom I work. I've done well in my reviews, and I'm now pushing the ceiling of my job classification's hourly pay scale, where I earn some overtime as projects require it. This has prompted my supervisor to push me toward reclassification to an Engineering Associate, a salaried position which will likely start with a very modest wage increase (and no overtime). This process is intimidating to me enough as it requires multiple interviews and presentations to the approval committee. But I'd be doing essentially the same work in a more supervisory role. This is a step I'm fairly certain I will be taking.
The real catch is this. There is a posting in our division for an Engineering Associate to do non-design work. It would require indeterminate amounts of travel (a real minus for me), much more personal interaction and presentations to Gov't agencies (I'm pretty introverted and not particularly good with stress), a lot of document pushing, scheduling and budgeting responsibilities, etc. The only upside I see to this job is long-term advancement potential.
I've consulted a few colleagues, who've encouraged me to apply. I get a lot of "You'd be great" and "Change is hard" talk. I know that I'm in my comfort zone and probably stagnant, certainly maxed out. But I still come back to the fact that I can become an Engr. Assoc. and still be a designer. The question is will that further my career as much as this non-designer opportunity.
Should I give up what I know, what I'm good at, and what I enjoy for a job that might be better in the long run? How much weight should I give to job satisfaction/happiness over potential long-term financial benefit?
Thanks for any consideration you may give this. I appreciate any and all insight or advice.