In their new book Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility, Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams and Lynne Cowart point out that advancing your career doesn’t necessarily mean you have to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. That might be your journey, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s up to you.
“In place of a ladder of promotions,” they advise, “think of [your] career as a rich, flexible mix of experiences.” From this point of view, you could even embark on a fulfilling journey of growth and new opportunities without ever leaving your current job.
This isn’t just inspirational advice; in a world where fixed, linear career paths and stable, predictable job markets are a thing of the past, it’s both practical and realistic to think this way. Technology and the “gig economy” have also dramatically changed not only how work gets done but where you do it, who you might collaborate with and what you can feasibly do. You might have a more traditional job as well as a side gig. Or you might work a series of gigs, requiring more flexibility and personal control.