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Something seemed very wrong with the way I’d been taught to think about my career progression. Like so many of us, I’d heard professional journeys described as climbing a ladder or following a path. But as I moved forward in my work as a journalist, I wasn’t moving in a straight line. The field I was pursuing, called audience engagement, was relatively new. I certainly hadn’t taken any courses on it in college, and two of the companies I would later work for didn’t even exist when I graduated. How was I supposed to know which path to take when it was still under construction?

I also didn’t see the ultimate goal of my career as reaching the top of the food chain. I have no desire to be a CEO. And I kept meeting talented professionals, people I admired greatly, who viewed the twists and turns of their careers as a drawback, not a benefit. With an apologetic air, they would talk about how they explored different areas of their work and how they struggled to come up with a simple, clean story to explain their résumés.

‘I started telling students to consider their careers, not as a linear progression straight up or ahead, but as a river delta—a fertile area to explore that flows toward an ultimate objective.’

The looks of relief on their faces as they realized they don’t have to commit to a one-size-fits-all path clearly showed me that there’s a better story we can use for our work in today’s information economy. And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to work in a field full of exact duplicates who travel from point A to B with no deviations. It’s the diversity of thought and experience that drives creativity and innovation.

Read the complete FastCompany article BY BRIDGET THORESON: https://www.fastcompany.com/90686046/forget-the-ladder-heres-a-better-framework-for-your-professional-journey

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