Busting the career ladder myth - Deepstash
Busting the career ladder myth

Busting the career ladder myth


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Finding your flow: career ladder vs career curve

Finding your flow: career ladder vs career curve

On a career ladder, you might "lose" a rung or have to start climbing again at a new organization. It feels like a step back. A river's curves and changes in direction are all part of the journey. What came before informs what flows after. 

This takes some of the pressure off job-hunting decisions, too. While a career ladder has only one direction, a career river can create a delta of many different paths, all equally valid to pursue. Not only is it ok to shift directions, it's expected. We need to give ourselves the freedom to explore what matters to us instead of locking ourselves to one inflexible path.


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Career rivers: a better framework for your professional journey

Here's how you can begin pursuing your own career river:

  • Identify your ocean. What will your legacy be? Knowing where you want to contribute will help you visualize what you can do to get there.
  • Embrace variety. Accept that your career will go through fast and slow periods, and explore the many different paths available to you.
  • Navigate obstacles. Sometimes it might be better to just go in a different direction than try to clear what's blocking your way, and that's fine. What matters is that you can keep going.
  • Find strength in collaboration. Who has contributed to your career? How are their contributions still present in your work? And who can you help along their own journey? Look for those heading to the same ocean to strengthen your career, and see how you can support others.


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