Climbing the Corporate ladder

Career paths are often described in terms of a corporate ladder, climbing up, steps in your career, or even succession planning. There’s a strong idea that each move we make in our careers should be a step up. That we should be testing ourselves and chasing our boss’s job.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 8.18.23 PMThat’s not really a suitable metaphor anymore, as Drucker said in 1993 “There is no longer any corporate career ladder; there isn’t even a rope ladder It is more like jungle vines and you bring your own machete.”

Companies have a need for skilled people, and will provide training and set up career paths for them. But market pressures can undo the best plans of companies – financial downturns can kill a career path with ease.  Even in the best of times you’re competing with others for the next opportunity.

Some companies have taken innovative steps with their training schemes, providing “mobility budgets” which allow the employee to make a training choice based on a very broad interpretation of progress in their career plans. One woman at the financial services company I work for used hers to train as a swimming coach, and now does that full time.

On the whole a persons career, or employability or mobility – choose your term, is up to the individual; here are 25 tips to kick-off with. And if all that fails you can always adapt to unemploymentality.

Image MACHETE /Marcelo Braga/ CC BY 2.0

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