July 10, 2020

Have you heard the expression “career ladder”? Do you know what a “career lattice” is? Are you curious to learn how to boost your “career intelligence”?

The answers to these 3 questions were in a recent Ontario Labour Market Report in an article about the new workplace reality. It was a commentary that focussed on how COVID-19 has impacted countless sectors yet also highlighted occupations that are now in great demand including healthcare workers, shelter workers, face-mask makers, cleaners, floor decal designers and Acrylic Plexiglass protective barriers manufacturers.

If you cannot see yourself in any of these areas it is time to review the following 3 career expressions:

1. Career ladder:

This term was common in the Canadian workplace until the 1990s. It means a traditional career path that takes you to a higher position in one company over a certain period of time. Often because of performance evaluations that might have emphasized accomplishments of never taking a sick day or daily punctuality, employees were able to climb up the ladder in terms of salary, responsibility and title.

2. Career lattice:

This phrase became common in the 2000s. I first read about it in the 1998 book “Career Intelligence” by Canadian author Barbara Moses. It means pursuing a career path that moves laterally, horizontally, and vertically. Similar to a garden lattice, careers can be connected yet flexible and allow for ideas and recognition to flow in different directions.

3. Career intelligence:

This expression also originated with Barbara Moses. In her 2003 book “What Next?” she encouraged job seekers to think like independent agents or entrepreneurs. Career intelligence means that all job seekers need to be prepared to live in an uncertain world, where the only certainty is you and your capacity to adapt to change.

Because of COVID-19 career ladders and lattices probably will not exist in the same forms as they once did. Instead, career paths have been replaced with the need for many job seekers to reset expectations, to re-evaluate career intelligence and to craft your future at what you are already good at.

For example, if you used communication skills in your previous jobs and enjoy talking with others, you might want to consider becoming a remote worker or Live Chat Agent and interacting with others using video conferencing platforms.

If you have been a Manager or have a background in Human Resources, you might want to shift your career and become a Health and Safety Consultant. All Ontario workplaces must now adhere to new health and safety regulations. To get started, you might want to participate in the free online training that the Province of Ontario recently launched to promote safe workplaces. It is a virtual approach to safety training and includes topics such as infection control and how to conduct health and safety incident investigations.

The workplace of 2020 might not have career paths that fit neatly on a career ladder or lattice, however, everyone can still boost career intelligence by reflecting on the new expression: “agile adjacency”. This means a career path that can be redesigned by viewing accomplishments in a new way and by not limiting yourself to the work you have always done.

As Barbara Moses urged more than 20 years ago, stay curious instead of fearful when it comes to careers. COVID-19 might have changed your occupational target, yet you can still advance your career intelligence by contemplating an adjoining career that you might not have ever known was there.

If you want to speak with a Career Specialist about how to do this, contact us today!

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

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