Say Goodbye To Linear Career Paths

Pim
Written by
- 2 min read

Most career goals are still focused on climbing a broken corporate ladder. Linear career paths are still the norm. Yet we all know the world (of work) changes quickly. Let's say goodbye to traditional career paths and embrace a more fluid world.

A world that no longer exists

Traditional hierarchies date from a time when the world was more stable and predictable than today. It made sense to start at the 'bottom of the pyramid' and, over time, progress 'up the hierarchy'.

A junior strives to be more senior. An employee dreams of getting a manager’s job. The manager works to become a director.

But this model of career development is outdated. The world it came from no longer exists. But sadly, the ‘ladder’ view still dictates career development in most organizations.

Fluid careers

Instead of a linear path to more money, status and satisfaction, I argue for fluid careers—based on intrinsic motivation and changing interests: careers driven by passion and curiosity, rather than fear and missed opportunities.

I argue for more unpredictability and less standardization. For more variety and fewer mapped-out paths from HR. More courage, bigger hearts and less comfort zone.

I'm thinking of the brave ones out there who quit corporate jobs to become teachers. Or those that combined multiple part-time jobs to satisfy a variety of interests. And individuals who defy traditional promotion, and leave managerial roles to return to doing what they love.

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Where you are now doesn't have to define where you will be in the future. Wherever you are currently, the decisions you make now can have a huge impact on the remaining parts of your career—and life.

There’s no need to feel stuck in a career. Break free and change your path.

Life is too short for shitty work.

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Replies (13)

Ronald

Ronald

Or the career where management encourages you in your personal development to become more senior, only to find out that when 'reach' a senior level and you discuss 'promotion', the number of senior positions are limited by the function-house-payment-scheme.

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Jos

Jos

Hard work alone does not make you progress - networking, I know you and you know me is the true trigger to move up - what if you do not feel comfortable or just say what you have to say and focus on work, right you are stuck. The political figures mostly do not make the right decisions and are focused on short term bonuses. Good luck with the “career”.

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luca

luca

love this approach to fluid career! I guess it would be good to study what are the enablers to make it happen (i.e. open job market, leadership skills, reverse mentoring, etc.)
happy to help on this!

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Carol

Carol

I discussed this very subject in my appraisal. We are a sociocracy, so have no line managers so our HR manager runs everyone's appraisal because I love my job! But it wasn't always like that!
To cut a 38 year career short starting as a software developer and at one point running a software business for a world-wide organisation, which I left to move into the social care sector for a privately-owned company as a senior manager. That company was acquired by a stock-exchange listed company and the focus changed. I decided to go back to the job that I enjoyed most, which encompasses a variety of roles from business analysis to direct technical support for clients. I couldn't be happier than when I'm helping people use software to make their lives easier and to change their view from hating the software to realising that it can save them a lot of time so that they can be spending more time with their family and pursuing hobbies.

If you are in a job that is draining you, I would urge you to think seriously about what changes you could make to make you happier.

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Dawn Nizzi

Dawn Nizzi

Wonderfully said! Thank you for sharing. Do what you love.

I discussed this very subject in my appraisal. We are a sociocracy, so have no line managers so our HR manager runs everyone's appraisal because I love my job! But it wasn't always like that!
To cut a 38 year career short starting as a software developer and at one point running a software business for a world-wide organisation, which I left to move into the social care sector for a privately-owned company as a senior manager. That company was acquired by a stock-exchange listed company and the focus changed. I decided to go back to the job that I enjoyed most, which encompasses a variety of roles from business analysis to direct technical support for clients. I couldn't be happier than when I'm helping people use software to make their lives easier and to change their view from hating the software to realising that it can save them a lot of time so that they can be spending more time with their family and pursuing hobbies.

If you are in a job that is draining you, I would urge you to think seriously about what changes you could make to make you happier.

Carol

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Rolf Baarda

Rolf Baarda

Ik zie dit wel, maar ook weer niet. Wat ontbreekt is de beperking die ons brein oplegt. We hebben het te doen met ons cognitief vermogen. Pas als je die grenzen kent, heb je de vrijheid om te kiezen. En niet andersom.

Rolf Baarda (adviseur beloningsmanagement obv probleemoplossend vermogen)

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D

D

Great idea. Please provide some names of companies who have moved to the fluid concept.

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Pim

Pim

Great idea. Please provide some names of companies who have moved to the fluid concept.

D

Check out the bucket list on this website and under the "trends" page the section "talents & mastery"

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Brett Sadler

Brett Sadler

Instead of striving for promotion, the new paradigm requires us to maximise our contribution. "How can I make more impact?" "How can I help make other people's lives better/easier/happier/more fulfilled etc.?"
Both financial and emotional returns can be improved ins proportion to how much we are able or prepared to give to make the world a better place for all - customers, colleagues, business owners, local communities etc.
We are at the dawning of a new age and this, I believe will become reality (or we die).

| | 4 | Flag
Flaviu

Flaviu

Love this. On point!

| | 0 | Flag
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