The Death of the Career Ladder

by Harvard Business Review
career ladder

In a post for Harvard Business Review, Priscilla Claman explains why the career ladder is an artifact from the past.

“Career ladders died out during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when over 85% of Fortune 1000 American companies downsized their white-collar workforce,” she writes.

Claman says as companies thinned out, those leadership positions disappeared — and most haven’t come back since.

She adds, there are better ways to think about career moves and suggests trying these tips for diverting your attention from the next step up.

Look laterally for career moves.

“Don’t think of job descriptions as much as job families, or groups of jobs that have something in common,” she writes.

Claman says it’s  easier to move within a company where you are a known factor. The experience can also broaden your skills, she says, which improves your chances of moving up.

(See Getting Hired: How to Quickly Position Yourself as an A+ Candidate)

Prove you can handle a promotion.

“Volunteer to help your manager with components of her job and learn to do them well,” she writes.

For example, offer to help interview job candidates, train and coach new people, and give them performance feedback, she suggests

(See Want to move up in your company? Here are some tips)

Grow your skills to grow your job.

“Seek out and take advantage of opportunities when they appear, and actively exceed expectations,” she writes.

For more career advice, read Claman’s full post here.