Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility

Up is Not The Only Way - Rethinking Career Mobility
When we think of career growth, we tend to think about “moving up” the ladder. However, in today’s workforce, much is changing. Organizational hierarchies are less commonplace, jobs are more mobile and flexible than ever, and individuals are in a position to truly own their careers.

Earlier this week, authors Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, and Lynn Cowart released their book titled Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility. The book presents an alternative way of looking at our careers and presents tips for navigation that can advance our personal and professional growth and development in somewhat less-traditional (yet equally rewarding) ways.

This book guides its readers into thinking about career mobility in a way that can lead to more options, and show how managers, coaches, and employees can partner to determine what's best and what's next. To give you an inside peek, here’s a content preview from the first chapter:

Let’s Be Honest

Up was never for everyone. It still isn’t. Managing someone else is not on everyone’s radar. Neither is taking on increasing levels of responsibility (really!). Not everyone wants to move up. That doesn’t mean a rewarding career is out of reach. The message has been out there for a while now that individuals own their careers. What does that really mean? We think it means that the definition of career success is up to each one of us. Every time circumstances shuffle the deck, you can deal yourself a new hand. That’s good news...actually that’s great news! We are the only ones who can envision and imagine what success will look like. And, to add to that great news, as the creators of our career success pictures, we are free to alter them when and how we choose to! That is what it means to own a career. But, if we own it and we can create it, how do we do it? First it’s about being mobile.

Career Mobility…

…is essential for individuals at all levels. Each one of us needs to exercise agility and resilience that stable workplaces did not require. No longer is mobility just about physically moving to another building or town. It’s more than getting promoted. It’s sometimes just being willing to continue to learn and grow and stretch.

…is about flexibility and agility. Like the navigation systems we rely on to reroute our travels based on traffic patterns, career mobility means flexing, adapting, and anticipating what’s next.

…involves a rich mix of experiences, roles, assignments, and options. Careers today require us to be open to exploring multiple opportunities and possibilities. Great careers will be the payoff for employees who watch for and recognize emerging growth opportunities and are ready with alternatives when options fade or change. Second, it’s about ownershift!

Ownershift: Who Does What?

We’ve all heard that employees own their careers. The organization needs to provide tools and resources, and managers need to support employees’ career development. It’s a partnership. Nothing new there! What is new is talking less about the ownership and more about the ownershift—the need to fine-tune who owns what—and about what each player needs to do to demonstrate commitment to the partnership…

To read more, purchase the book here.

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