#86 “I’m Not Interested in the Corporate Ladder”

not interested in the corporate ladder

Are you not interested in the corporate ladder? Do you dream of other, customized future plans for yourself? Then this article is for you! It is OK to create other career routes besides the glorified ladder!

I. Everything Counts

Imagine heading to a brick-and-mortar bank. You look inside the bank vault you’ve been renting for years. It has accumulated in worth as you’ve collected precious metals, substantial documents, figurines, and other items of value. 

We will use this as a simple analogy.

What if I told you that you already possess a similar kind of vault. it’s not necessarily a vault that others will see or understand. Rather, you have been accumulating valuables that include your experiences, education, skills and general degree of self-development.

This vault, which you are always building upon, includes:

  • trainings, degrees, and certifications
  • awards, accolades, and recognitions
  • experiences, mistakes, and lessons learned
  • successes, failures, and damage control plans
  • emotional lessons learned, emotional intelligence, and maturity
  • self-awareness, self-respect, and self-worth
  • people in your network, people of significance, people who can advocate for you

After revealing your impeccable vault contents to a potential employer, they know they would be foolish to not hire you!

It is well worth your time to start assembling the contents of your own employability vault, see more in Post #33. Then, use the contents of this vault in Section III below.

II. Ditch the Ladder

For a moment – forget about societal norms, forget what others wish for you, and forget about the things you “should” do. And: forget about the “ladder.” Since you’re not interested in the corporate ladder, let’s just ditch it for now.

But it’s tough to erase the idea of a glorified corporate ladder from your mind, isn’t it? Especially when you’ve been pressured to believe there are no alternatives.

Society says we are supposed to work our way up the ladder. Society implies that if we are not working our way up the ladder, something must be wrong with us… maybe you’re not a hard worker. Maybe you’re not smart enough. 

We have been led to believe that hard work will get rewarded. And one of these rewards is the ability to climb this so-called ladder. But when did society, or anyone for that matter, ever ask you to pause and answer: “do you have an interest in climbing the corporate ladder, why or why not?”

It may seem as if climbing the ladder is the thing all good employees must do. Not so!

III. Spin Your Web

Goodbye ladder, hello career web!

Envision a spider web, with all its spokes protruding out from the middle and all its interconnections thereafter. This web represents your career journey.

Each spoke symbolizes a new path you have tried or will try (for example, education, job title, etc). On each individual path, or spoke, you will you create a dot which represents milestones, successes, and failures along that path.

A dot, or milestone, can represent an accomplishment, award, a time frame, a lesson learned, etc. 

With the assistance of your employability vault from Section I, create the many paths and milestones you have experienced in your short lifetime. Over the years, your goal is to continue to grow this career web in whatever direction makes the most sense for you.

Now, create your current career web and ask yourself:

  • Since I’m in control of spinning my career web instead of climbing a ladder, what do I want to spin next?
  • What if there are no rules in my career… what if I have freedom to move sideways, or take steps back, or forge a completely new path?

If you’re not interested in the corporate ladder, leave it behind in favor of a more forgiving, flexible career web!


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