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Up Is Not the Only Way

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Up Is Not the Only Way

Rethinking Career Mobility


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Flexible “career mobility” means more than climbing the corporate ladder.

Editorial Rating



  • Well Structured
  • For Beginners
  • Engaging


Today’s employees want meaningful work and a better work-life balance. Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams and Lynn Cowart – three consultants who’ve experienced the six possible career paths covered here – offer a manual about the different ways your career can grow. They explore “enrichment, exploratory, lateral, realignment” and “relocation” strategies as well as “vertical” upward growth. Their advice is a solid conversation starter for managers who want to retain top talent and for employees who are eager for professional development. Its blue color scheme and large, boldface font sizes are whimsical though distracting. getAbstract recommends this insightful guidebook to managers, employees and HR professionals. 


More Than One Direction

Everyone hopes for and expects “career mobility.” Employees want to take ownership of their careers. Assess your professional development to define what matters most to you. Take stock of your skills, interests, values and goals. Ask for feedback from those you trust. Enlist help from managers, coaches and mentors.

The Career “Kaleidoscope”

A kaleidoscope offers many different views and shifting patterns. A typical kaleidoscope contains three mirrors and a handful of beads. Just as one twist of a kaleidoscope changes the dynamic, one shift in your career can open up a new world of possibilities. Like a kaleidoscope, a satisfying career has three main “mirrors” or components: “skills, interests and values.” All three matter.

Shifting to a kaleidoscopic view means leaving a one-way, linear path in order to move in different directions. As you twist the kaleidoscope, new patterns may emerge that weren’t previously visible. The same thing happens when others twist the viewer for you, as when, for example, your company splits an existing department into two new departments. You could stay with your old department and...

About the Authors

Beverly Kaye also wrote Love ’Em or Lose ’Em and Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go. She founded Career Systems International, where Lynn Cowart is vice president of quality delivery and Lindy Williams, who formerly worked at American Express, is a senior consultant.

Comment on this summary

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    K. B. 6 years ago
    I personally like to see all my options before I chose something. This was a great perspective of your career step choices. As a youth, I only saw the lateral path. This made me realize that it is ok to go in any direction not just up to be successful and happy with your career.
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    B. A. 7 years ago
    Straight to the point, sometimes we know what we want but don't know how to do it. In this summary it takes you from the gray area to the right place, where you will know what next step to be done. Up is not always the right move, alternatives should be considered too.
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    Y. E. 7 years ago
    stay confident and patient in your carrer orientation...a lateral step is also a way to climb to your ideal

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