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Career Development and Advancement Aren't the Same Thing

Posted by Mitch Corlett on December 8, 2014

Most of us still associate career development and advancement very strongly -- that the only way to develop your career is to keep climbing up that ladder. We even imply someone's in a failed career when we say they are in a "dead-end job."

Yet other professions remain satisfied with their jobs, despite minimal available advancement. Such as professors, once they've reached tenure.  Or entrepreneurs that opened a small company that they love, but feel no need to forever expand. Or medical professionals - my wife is a physical therapist, but there isn't a VP of Physical Therapy position she can work toward.

These professions understand the difference between career development and advancement. Yet they don't fret about it, because they recognize that they can develop and grow their careers without moving on to a new and more "impressive" title every few years.

If you're in a position where there don't seem to be any additional advancement opportunities, maybe it's time to take stock of whether you're in a "dead-end job," or just one that helps you to develop in other ways. Which one will you be happier with?

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Topics: Career Advice