Say Goodbye To Linear Career Paths

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- 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But this model of career development is outdated.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 (12)



Companies like Eli Lilly have implemented programs a decado ago where after 10 years in Finance they trained you for another area such as Manufacturing or Marketing. Giving value of the experience and different point of view. Hope more companies could do that.

Regarding the corporate ladder itself I think that new generations need to have an attitude as a free lance/entrepreneur making a fun and lasting internship within a company approach while working in the most dynamic and changing home office/hybrid environment seen in years.

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This is the choice I decided to make when becoming an agile coach moving off the department manager's path and position. Dealing with people, with startups and exciting projects is much more fun and interesting for me. And i can blend in microscopy, podcasting, astronomy, electronics in-between keeping me busy and energised the whole day. Happy to find the confirmation in this article.
But it's not easy to get here. Right now you have to have a safe environment, where you can do it. In Sweden it's probably easier than in the most other countries as here you can bring in much more common sense in the discussions and less rely on hierarchies.
Got some nice talks about the topic of common sense and more heart and engagement in the latest podcast episode . Life is too short - do stuff that matters.

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