What if I Said There is No More Career Ladder?
I know, I know…controversial. The concept of climbing the corporate ladder has been the cornerstone in corporate career growth thinking for most of the 21st century. I know within my group of friends and colleagues it has been a staple for those new, in the midst of, and at the pinnacle of their careers. I mean, what would we do if there was no ‘up’ in our personal career journeys, right?! If you’re in line with this ideology, I’m going to surprise you and say, you’re thinking about it ALL wrong.
Of course, we want to grow our careers and continue to learn, but we don’t necessarily need to follow a strict upward path to do so. Think about it as more of a zig zag journey with peaks and valleys. Ultimately you will reach your personal peak, but there may be some plateaus in between as well. My personal career journey is filled with upwards, downwards, and sometimes sideways moves. Along the way I’ve learned some great lessons which help me to move away from the traditional “ladder” thinking when it comes to measuring my personal career success.
My 3 Ideas to Consider When Thinking About Your Next Career Move
#1 – Know What You Want & Develop Yourself
So, you’ve been in your current role for 3 years and think it’s time for a change. Do you know what type of change? More responsibility, new title? What if there was no title available, but there was an opportunity for different responsibilities? Would you take it on? Or are you flying blind? It’s critical in career progression to know what you want to achieve in the long run. Think about your end result and the skill set that you need to get there. Start taking on new projects and new responsibilities. That next role may not necessarily be a promotion, but an opportunity to learn a new skill set and ultimately help you grow in the long term.
#2 – Be Open Minded
I wrote in one of my first blogs for CA about my relocation to the UK with my husband and infant son. Why? Not for a promotion, it was actually a lateral move with a change in some of my responsibilities. At first I was nervous, as I only knew what I knew… my current roll. However, I knew what I wanted and knew this would help me in my journey.
What have I gained? New skills in understanding the local nuances in my regions, along with being able to bring new insight to my team and stakeholders. Not to mention…I have enjoyed the challenge along the way. Remember tip number 1. I knew I wanted a change, to learn more about the international marketplace, and to complete a new challenge while making an impact. Keeping an open mind has helped me to make the best decision for my family and for my career in the long run.
#3 – Say Yes
Now, don’t say yes to everything, but say yes to new opportunities to learn. Your manager asks you to be involved in a new project which will lead to further opportunities…say yes. Interested in developing a new campaign? Why not throw your hat in the ring? I’ll revert back to tip number 2 here, remember to be open minded to opportunities. It’s important to maintain your balance, but starting to think about your career progression from the lateral perspective will help you build your skillset and experience while also providing you growth opportunities in the long run.
Listen, I know we all have goals of growth and if you’re anything like me…ultimately running the world. There is no one rule book to follow, however, if I were to reference our CA DNA – being agile and resilient is extremely important not only to our customers, but also for our personal development and career growth. We’ll all get there in time – just remember career progression is about the journey, there will be ups and down, but as long as you remember these top three tips, you’ll reach your summit.
So, are you ready for your next move? Check out our open roles here and be sure to stay connected with us by joining our talent community.