I just realized that I had done a poor job of answering your first question, "How have you stayed on the individual contributor path without getting pulled into principally management duties?"
Ultimately it came down to turning down several opportunities to change jobs. Twice it has come up in the last five years that I could move in that direction. One time I was sure I didn't want it unless I had no choice, I was given the choice and turned it down. The other I briefly thought I wanted a different position but when I really sat and looked at it dispassionately I realized that someone else I knew had a very similar job and I never ever envied him. I knew he got a better payout when it came bonus time, but other than that his job just seemed like a drag to me. So I dropped the attempt to change.
Fortunately, they know I'm interested in advancing and the possibility of another move up within the tech track has been floated recently so I don't appear to be stuck at the very top rung on the tech side just yet. At a lot of places, they just don't bother trying to nurture the technical side and offer a corresponding set of advancements for that side. So you can end up unable to move up after a certain point. I don't have that here, so that makes my choice a reasonable one.
Thank you, I appreciate the clarification. Very helpful!
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