Where did the idea of a corporate ladder even come from? Was it realistic that a college graduate could pick one ladder, one path, and keep climbing in one direction, knowing the exact next step?
I’m grateful that corporate ladders don’t exist and that we get to create our own career paths full of twists and turns, detours and flexibility. You can take time off for personal reasons (family, sabbaticals, continuing education). You can jump to new industries. You can have side hustles. You can even start over and reinvent yourself completely.
The focus in today’s career path is more about developing skills than climbing a ladder of job titles. When you can reframe your career journey to prioritize professional development over job titles, you may achieve your dream job faster. Also, there is something you can do every day for your professional development. Your professional development is something that you own.
Often times, clients want to know what’s next in their career. They ask their manager what they need to do to get the next position. And often time they hear, “We don’t have that position open now but we will consider you when it is.” Or the guidance to focus on your current role. And yes, focus on mastering the skills of your current role but also focus on developing the future skills you will need for the rest of your career path.
As we approach 2018, identify some skills you want to develop or master in 2018. Get the support of an accountability partner. And even work with your manager or HR professional to see if there are professional development opportunities that your company provides or if your company can provide financial support.