This is Your Career Wake Up Call

3 min. read

If you’re ready to rise & shine in your work life, you don’t want to snooze through this message.

I met Emma – not her real name – in a small conference room where she worked as an engineer for a Boston-based biotech manufacturer.

The pain on her face sucked out what little fresh air was left in the room. She was devastated. She did not get the promotion she felt she had “earned.” She hit all her goals, did all that she was asked to do. Like any good trooper,  she had patiently waited her turn to move to the next level.  She thought this was the year. It wasn’t. Her voice pitched from mild to moderate panic, just a step away from the anger that was sure to come.

When I asked if she had ever talked with her boss over the past year about what a promotion would require, the answer was a resounding “no.” 

Then complete silence. 

After a few seconds to think about it, she asked, “Why would I do that?”

The more I thought about Emma’s dilemma, the more I realized how many people, including myself, leave control of their careers in the hands of others.

The rationalizations are endless:

  • It’s the organization’s job to train and promote me.
  • My boss said I was doing good and to keep on doing what I’m doing.
  • Nobody has a clue what I do.
  • I don’t like to toot my own horn. I shouldn’t have to.
  • A good job should speak for itself.

It took Emma’s dilemma and my anger (thanks, Emma) to realize that climbing the corporate ladder is a dangerous and prejudicial journey – a game misunderstood by most. 

The journey is perilous and more likely to lead people down a road to “I’m not good enough” than to higher elevations promising more money, power, and prestige. 

Even as expectations about work are changing, climbing the ladder is still the biggest game in town. But it’s not the only path. 

This was the genesis of Ladderburning –  a new and different mindset to advancing in one’s career while finding meaning and purpose at work.

… that your hard work doesn’t always speak for itself.

… that you are not the center of the universe.

… that you can have more control and influence in your career than you realize.

This isn’t stuff that’s taught very often in schools or colleges.

Nor is it something managers or bosses easily offer up.

It’s not a hot topic at professional development events or with career coaches either.

In 2014 I published Leader Evolution: From Technical Expertise to Strategic Leadership. It supports individuals looking to advance in their career with more guidance than sink or swim. It is a road map for leadership development that expands personal competence as well as how to create a broader impact on the organization. 

So I picked up my pen and started writing – sharing practical steps, stories, successes – after working with hundreds of clients across the world in taking control of their career paths to experience career success, connection, and fulfillment.  

The career-changing result: “Burn Ladders. Build Bridges.”
A book about pursuing meaning and purpose at work. 

With the Great Resignation in full swing, I’m confident in saying Ladderburning is the future of work.

Burn Ladders. Build Bridges. is officially released on May 6, 2022. 

I can’t wait to share more.

And I can’t wait to discuss the concepts you’ll all bring to life and witness the kickass impact you’ll make.

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