Careers Don’t Work This Way Anymore

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Nov 07

One of the things I hate about surfing the web is the astounding amount of crap that is written out there. One of the things I love about surfing the web is that every once in a while a great little nugget of coolness presents itself.

Coolness happened tonight: a Google Alert sent me to a brand new web site and presented me with a great kernel of truth written in a way that is both inspiring — and obvious for those of us searching for the truths of career management.

At Perspectives From the Pipeline, a blog about “observations on the nonprofit sector from the next generation,” we read this:

It’s over. No more vertical. No more ladder. That’s not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.

I agree with this completely. It is one of the reasons why “planning” a career, especially one that assumes to go higher in an organization, is difficult to do — especially if planned in one company.

The pursuit of a career should be the learning of new skills that contribute to your overall personal brand. That premise will take you far and wide in the types of things you work on, including working for different companies who can provide the skills you are looking to acquire.

But, it’s not linear. It’s not a ladder. Knowing what skills you want to acquire that helps fit your portfolio of skills is what counts.

What skills do you want to learn? Do you know? Can your company provide those skills?


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.