Careers are a jungle gym not a ladder

“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.”

—Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook

Image of a jungle gym

Image from Indiamart

To what degree does your company or organization offer a well-defined career path?

Prior to entering the working world, many of us in the Baby Boomer generation experienced an educational system that was very linear and predictable. This approach won’t work for our 21st century workforce, and thankfully, things are changing.

For all of us, especially members of our younger generations, there will likely be far more zig-zagging, climbing, and leaping due to the exponential nature of change occurring in our world. Continuous learning of new and diverse skills will be an absolute necessity for motivated and hard-working people to reach the top levels in their chosen fields.

EXERCISE:

How can you, your colleagues and perhaps most importantly, your children and other young people be better prepared and engaged in navigating the jungle gyms of their current and future vocational playgrounds?

Education today

“Education today, more than ever before, must see clearly the dual objectives: Educating for living, and education for making a living.”

—James Mason Wood, 19th Century English Zoologist

Recall the days you got your school report card. What subjects did you study, and how did you do? To what degree did your studies prepare you for life?

Take a moment to look at your career-related studies and perhaps your performance review process for your current work or vocational efforts. How are you doing in these areas? How much do these efforts help you live your life?

What has your educational journey – beyond the focus on career development and making a living – looked like over the years? Who were your teachers, and what grades would you give yourself in the domains outside of work?

EXERCISE:

Give yourself a grad for each of the following subjects in your life – and feel free to add a few more “electives” to pursue your own advanced degree in living:

Health _______ Relationships _______
Emotional Intelligence _______ Fun _______
Adventure _______ Continuous Learning _______
Community Involvement _______ Faith/spirituality/Religion _______
Joy _______ Meaning/Purpose _______

Where can and will you focus your educational efforts in living today and in the future to get a “PhD in Thee”?

There is no greater education than one that is self-driven

“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astrophysicist

Image of a notebook with a checklist

Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Elementary school, middle school, high school, and college are what we call traditional education. If you were lucky, perhaps your upbringing included books, encyclopedias, and of course, highly committed parents who emphasized education as a key doorway to a bright future.

For many, once we complete our traditional education, we slow down or even stop our efforts for continuous learning. Somehow that song, “No more teachers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks” was ingrained in us, and we decided we were finished.

EXERCISE:

Consider yourself as your own home-schooling professor, creating the perfect curriculum just for you. The topics you choose are both important and relevant to a fully engaged and happy life. What could this self-driven education include that would result in a PhD in Thee?