I work in a very specialized industry. I design and build cards that go into 'one-off' boxes. Each box has quite a bit of heritage design, but each box has it's own special challenges. They wanted me to be the box lead AND design a card in the box from the ground up. I can only do one of the two tasks in the time-frame they've given me without going crazy, and I told them I wanted to design the card. Why was my boss shocked when I told him I wanted to design the card? Seems to me that management thinks everyone wants their career path. I.E. Card lead, box lead, subsystem lead, then middle management. You should have seen my face when the boss asked if he should open a req! I didn't think he'd do it. I told him 'yep' without missing a beat. That was one of the toughest but easiest things to do in my entire life - I've been raised to never tell the boss 'no' or 'I can't'. At the same time, it was a huge monkey off my back and I sent a big message - I want to be the engineer - living in the lab... solving problems and delivering results that work. Any similar stories? How'd it turn out?