What to Do If There’s No Clear Career Path for You at Your Company


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By Dorie Clark

We all know the old script: join a company, work hard, move up the ladder. But it’s been decades since that was a reliable path, and not just because of layoffs or outsourcing or robots.

These days, the culprit preventing many professionals from identifying a clear career path at their company is simply that one no longer exists.

Given that successful companies must often pivot to adapt to changes in the marketplace, and the half-life of many skills is now estimated to be five years or less, companies often have no idea what staffing needs they’ll have in a few years’ time or who would be qualified to fill them.

As Cathy Benko and Molly Anderson predicted in their 2010 book, we’ve gone from a corporate ladder to a Corporate Lattice, in which professionals’ career progress may only sometimes be linear — and often, may instead appear diagonal or horizontal.

Guidance from companies on how to move forward in this environment is often minimal, because they just aren’t sure.

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