How many people do you know who are moving smoothly up the corporate ladder?
The traditional climb from fresh-faced intern to gold-watch-wearing CEO is largely a thing of the past.
Instead, more and more career paths today take a variety of directions as workers struggle to navigate the peaks and valleys of an unpredictable and sometimes volatile work landscape.
Which of the following sounds like you?
Zigzag: This worker’s path doesn’t appear to follow any logical order. She may come out of school and work in her chosen field for a few years, leave to raise children, retrain and begin working from home in a whole new area, then re-enter the workforce when her children have grown up. Rather than appear unstable, this path shows a level of flexibility and desire for lifelong learning that many forward-thinking employers are seeking.
Portfolio: This Renaissance person has so many interests and passions that he isn’t willing to choose just one career at a time. He tends to work at several part-time jobs, or one full-time job that allows him time to freelance in another area that fulfils him in other ways. Either way, he’ll cobble together enough work to thrive financially without having to sacrifice any of his many passions.
Lateral: Rather than reaching for increased responsibility and higher pay grades in one organization or field, the lateral career worker prefers to move among positions at the same level. The lateral path can take people with excellent transferable skills from one job to another either within one field or across multiple areas of interest.
At the core of each of these decidedly untraditional career paths is a person who has chosen to put his or her interests, wants and needs first.
If you fit any of the above profiles and you’re worried that they make you look flighty/noncommittal/irresponsible/immature (or any other guilt-laden word you can think of!), a career coach can help you find the patterns and articulate the strengths in your unique path for potential employers.
That corporate ladder isn’t for everyone, after all, and there’s nothing wrong with that.