Career Paths

Career paths have historically focused on upward mobility within a particular occupation. One of four types of career paths may be used: traditional, network, lateral, and dual. 

a. Traditional Career Path—

An employee progresses vertically upward in the organization from one specific job to the next.

b. Network Career Path—

A method of career pathing that contains both a vertical sequence of jobs and a series of horizontal opportunities.

c. Lateral Skill Path—

Traditionally, a career path was viewed as moving upward to higher levels of management in the organization. The availability of the previous two options has diminished considerably in recent years. But this does not mean that an individual has to remain in the same job for life. There are often lateral moves within the firm that can be taken to allow an employee to become revitalized and find new challenges.

d. Dual-Career Path— 

A career-path method, that recognizes that technical specialists can and should be allowed to continue to contribute their expertise to a company without having to become managers. 

e. Adding Value To Retain Present Job—

Regardless of the career path pursued, today’s workers need to develop a plan whereby they are viewed as continually adding value to the organization. If employees cannot add value, the company does not need them, and much of the evolving work environments cannot use them either. Workers must anticipate what tools will be needed for success in the future and obtain these skills. These workers must look across company lines to other organizations to determine what skills are transferable, and then go and get them. Essentially, today’s workers must manage their own careers as never before. 

f. Demotion—

Demotions have long been associated with failure, but limited promotional opportunities in the future and the fast pace of technological change may make them more legitimate career options.

Five ways to handling a career transition

It's never easy to get out of the comfort zone of an existing career and dive into something completely new. The older you get and the higher you climb on the career ladder, the more unsettling it may get to make that switch. Nevertheless, a career transition , if handled the right way, can be just the right ticket to a fresh lease of professional life.


Do a self-analysis before taking the plunge, advises MD of head hunting firm Executive Access Ronesh Puri. "List out all your skills as well as the challenges you anticipate in the new career. Identify how your previous experience can complement your new role," he says.


Your priorities keep changing, so you might need to do a course correction . Don't be scared to experiment . "A lot of people are risk averse . But nothing in life is zerorisk ," says Puri. If you are at a stage in your life when you are not in a position to take that risk, postpone your decision. But don't let it constrict you, he adds.


What is your continuity plan? How will you handle things if your new career doesn't pan out well for you? Your confidence levels will be much higher if you have a back-up plan in place.


In certain cases, a career transition may involve a reduction in income and a consequent hit on finances . That's why you need to think ahead about how to manage your family obligations, EMIs and other expenses. It could mean cutting down on your indulgences; dipping into your savings or some other avenue.


Develop new skills that are required for the career change. Take an online programme or read up as much as you can about your new career choice. "Acquire all the skills, knowledge and information possible about the new field before entering it. Do your groundwork well," says CEO of executive search firm Symbiosis Management Consultants Vinay Grover.

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