Kristina Lustig used to be Stack Overflow’s director of design, but left her job a year ago and started a new one as an associate software developer. Luckily, she was able to do it without leaving the company.
I went to my new manager last year to let her know that I was going to have to leave. I told her that I’d wanted to be a developer for a long time and that I’d need to go pursue that dream somewhere else. Her answer? “Well… have you considered pursuing that here?”
Careers are non-linear. While career ladders are useful, don’t ever forget that jumping to another ladder can be the move that makes the most sense.