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10.12: Career Management

  • Page ID
    47073
  • Learning Outcomes

    • Discuss various approaches to career management

    A colorful illustration on a black background shows a collection of images including a coffee mug, light bulbs, graphs, a golden trophy, a bullseye target with an arrow in the middle, a paperclip, and many more items.Although business’ support of employee’s career management is a best practice back by performance data, each individual is ultimately responsible for his or her own career management. As Deloitte vice chairman and author Cathy Benko phrases it, each of us is the CEO of our own careers. What that means is that each of us is responsible for “ensuring the relevance of our skills and the continued cultivation of our careers.”[1] To ensure continued skills relevance, Benko recommends “marking skills to market;” specifically, scanning job posting sites on a periodic basis to determine what skills are in demand and to identify emerging skills. To the career cultivation point, she recommends thinking in terms of “career option value”—that is, continuously adding to your portfolio of transferable skills and experiences to increase your market value and expand your career options. In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Benko, explains that “The corporate ladder approach to career development has given way to a digital-age corporate “lattice,” a concept she and her co-author develop in The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance In the Changing World of Work. In summary, in a lattice world, continual professional reinvention needs to be a core competency.

    A woman is sitting in front of a laptop working. There is a pad of paper in the foreground with notes and a yellow sticky note.For perspective on a lattice career, consider Zainab Ghadiyali’s path, described in a First Round Review interview titled “The Secrets to Designing a Curiosity-Driven Career.”[2] The interview opens with the observation that “While her recent resume is impressive — spanning a rise up the engineering ranks at Facebook, her current role as a Product Lead at Airbnb, and a side hustle as the co-founder of Wogrammer — the inclines and contours of her unlikely path to Silicon Valley are far more remarkable, delineating the cartography of an extraordinary career.” Ghadiyali’s journey took her from her hometown of Mumbai to South Carolina, Berlin, Peru, Nicaragua and, ultimately, Silicon Valley. Ghadiyali reflects that “Across all of my life experiences, I was just hungry to learn.” The interviewer notes that while many people are inspired by learning, it can be hard to protect that spirit of curiosity as career pressures intensify. Here are a few of the strategies Ghadiyali used to sustain her creative spark:

    • Leverage a creative—not reactive—mindset to overcome uncertainty. Ghadiyali explains that “The reactive mindset is driven by fear,” [which] “leads you down a spiral of anxiety, in which you focus on all the reasons why you can’t do something. By contrast, the creative mindset is driven by possibility. The creative mindset inspires curiosity and passion, which leads to action.”
    • Picture your career as a painting, not a ladder. To quote Ghadiyali: “When we visualize a career ladder, we start putting ourselves in a box. Step back and see the painting — every experience adds a brushstroke to a bigger picture.”
    • To unlock omnidirectional growth, focus on learning. “At every career crossroads, I ask myself the same two high-level questions: ‘What am I excited to learn next? What’s the next level of learning I want to reach?’”
    • Leap before you’re ready—but be prepared to catch up. Ghadiyali observes that “A risk won’t actually move you forward unless it’s followed by a dedication to progress.”

    Her final recommendation, now that she’s doing the hiring: “Hire for hunger, not a checklist of qualifications.”


    1. Harrell, Eben. "The Solution to the Skills Gap Could Already Be Inside of Your Company." Harvard Business Review. September 27, 2016. Accessed July 18, 2019.
    2. "The Secrets to Designing a Curiosity-Driven Career." First Round Review. Accessed July 18, 2019.
    CC licensed content, Original
    • Career Management. Authored by: Nina Burokas. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
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