Business creates “career path” as a tool to persuade their employees to stay with them. The simple reason is that staff turnover causes business interruptions and may spell operational discontinuities.
Most businesses may have hierarchical structure but no formal career paths. Even if the career paths are mapped out on paper, it does not mean that you are going to travel along this path.
Here are some examples of such situations:
- The business closed down.
- The economic recession impacted the business negatively. The business lay off employees. You still have your job but now you are doing the work of 3 persons.
- You are not your boss’s favorite person, so you did not get the promotion. Yes, you may have great ideas; worked long hours; completed some big projects, but still you are bypassed for the promotion.
- You just lost your job because you had been sabotaged by your subordinate.
- You got promoted and got a $50 salary raise. It would be another 5 years before you would get another promotion.
- You have a good boss, but he left and is replaced by someone that micromanage you and you feel miserable.
When career paths were first crafted, the life-long job was the norm and when management was paternalistic. It was a time when employment at will was unheard of and employee’s welfare was a norm on management’s list of concerns. Nowadays, the pace of change in the business environment is faster. The organizational structure and job descriptions change more frequently. Hence the context that makes the concept of career path has subsided.
All of this is such because life is uncertain. The thought of having your career mapped out for you and that all you need to do is to climb the corporate ladder is seductive but unrealistic. If you continue to believe in it, it is most likely that you are going to be disappointed.