In 2013 we were having a chat about how our careers and the careers of our friends seemed to be changing. For the first ten years of our working lives everything had been pretty predictable. We had both worked in big hierarchical companies, progressed step by step up the career ladder and had a well mapped out career plan. So far, so good.

But something seemed to be changing. There was less certainty about what the future would hold, technology was accelerating and providing new opportunities and the world of work seemed less straightforward than it had in the past. The idea of finding meaning in work was also fuelling hundreds of articles exclaiming the virtues of ‘doing what you love’ and ‘following your passions’

We were excited about what these changes might mean for the next ten years  of our career but we also knew from our own experiences and talking to our friends that this new world of work could feel daunting, frustrating and confusing.

Our biggest ‘a ha’ moment was realising that all these changes at work meant we needed a new approach to career development. Individuals needed to start taking ownership for their own career and not rely on organisations to do the hard work for them. And this was going to be a challenge. Most of us have grown up in schools and then later jobs that are rooted in the old world of work- predictable and you get told what to do and how to do it. This is what we describe as the ‘staircase’ model of work and development.

The new world of work is ‘squiggly’ so we need a squiggly model of career development. Many of the old ‘rules’ of work no longer apply. Gap years are no longer the prerogative of the young, most of us will have a freelance role during our careers and side project start ups are more popular than ever (which is how we started Amazing If). The idea of having a career plan in a squiggly world feels completely defunct.

So how do you start taking the right actions to have a happy squiggly career? Here are 5 simple and quick ideas that we regularly recommend as a great place to start.

1. Be a sponge – develop a growth  mindset. Learn more in this video from Carol Dweck
2. Stay curious. Discover how curious you are with this quiz from HBR
3. Make learning a habit. Work out the best way for you to start a new habit from Gretchin Reubin.
4. Discover, use and share your values and strengths. This free VIA assessment is a great place to start
5. The start of you. A useful introduction into taking ownership for your own career written by the founder of Linked In. You can get a free summary of the book here.

If you’d like even more ideas check out our free resources section.

And we’d love to see you at one of our evening courses where we focus on HOW you can do all those things that sound great on paper but feel harder in reality – discover and use your strengths, work out what motivates you (values), develop an effective network, build your confidence and explore your career possibilities. You can see all of our course dates here.

Sarah & Helen

sarah ellis


Upcoming Courses

03/06/19 : Strengths (Amsterdam)

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I knew what I was good at, so I could do it more? Can

02/09/19 : Career Kickstarter (London)

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could take control of my career? How much time and energy do you

07/10/19 : Values (London)

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I knew what made me, me? Do you ever get frustrated in your role,

04/11/19 : Future Possibilities (London)

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I knew where I was going? Sarah has a luggage tag that says “do