How to be more creative with your career ladder

How to be more creative with your career ladder

Do you still think of your career as one ladder, which must be vertical at all times?

Don't limit yourself to that. Like a skilled mountaineer crossing a chasm, sometimes you need to turn the career ladder horizontally.

If you work in a declining industry, for example, your fastest career progress may come from making a lateral move into a new industry.

My friend George just made such a career move. (A note for the next time you sit down with your financial planner: Don’t assume your chosen field will offer you stable employment for the duration of your career. The economy has not worked that way in quite a while.)

George spent most of his career working in an increasingly volatile industry. And he defined himself by the industry in which he worked. A few times I asked him about considering other options. But he liked the work and was really good at it.

As an outsider, I could see the writing on the wall, but George was too busy working to look at the wall. To keep his focus, he methodically avoided reading any bad news about his industry. As Upton Sinclair observed, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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Bob Corlett is the founder and President of Staffing Advisors. He’s been named as one of the 100 most influential people in staffing, is a nationally syndicated weekly writer for the American Cities Business Journals and is a founding member of the Editorial Advisory Board for The HR Examiner. Bob is a frequent speaker at meetings of the Society for Human Resources Management. Thousands of hiring executives read his monthly newsletter, and the Resource Center on this site contains hundreds of his articles on innovation, staffing, leadership and performance management. Bob has worked in the staffing industry since 1989, starting Staffing Advisors in 2002.