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Every individual has distinct career expectations. It’s not that every one wants to be highly competitive and always looking for jump or promotion in their career path. Some people are happy with what they are or what comes up naturally.  Not necessarily every one must reach the peak of their profession. Every doctor can not be a national figure or the head of a national hospital. Every judge can not be a chief justice of an apex court. Every professor can not be a VC of a university. Every investor can not be billionaire. Every mechanic can not be a machine designer. Every astronaut can not go to the moon or the mars. Every staff or employee can not be a CEO of the same/similar or some other business organization. It’s not always they can not be on top of the trade it may, some times, be that they are happy with what they are or they do not at all want to reach the peak. Human beings live with two contradictory psychology, one they feel comfortable living with status quo and another they always want to do better in everything as time passes our career growth depends up on which element has more role to play in our career. Those who are happy with status quo do not need much career growth plan where as those who want to progress definitely need ones.

Whether it is an employment, self employment, business or investment we see our career there. In case of business, as an example, we do business plans and also an individual’s career plan who manages that business. Both the plans must coincide or match. If not, there will be a gap and one or both of them will crash in the course of time. Lets’ take a simple example where a person invests his money, sets up a business and also manages the same. Fortunately, the market supports the business and the business grows very fast intensively and extensively. Now, the person must upgrade himself by way of training and education to meet up the expected knowledge, expertise, skill etc for the company. In case of employment and self employment, career growth plan is still more important than in the above case.

Human beings are their own masters in choosing their career. Though there are internal and external factors affecting the career development, they can opt and probably reach the career they like to. However, it makes sense if we can do our self assessment and also fairly evaluate and analyze national and international markets before setting up or reviewing our career plans. At the same time, we must consider our inherent limitation, may be of physical or mental status, interest, personality type, priority, value system, economic condition etc. before selecting any career and also making a career plan. If an extremely introvert person enters a career in sales or legal profession, only destination will be the disaster, nothing less nothing more.  

Once we enter any career we need to make our growth plan. As such there are basically, two growth models - namely vertical and horizontal. There are no such absolute types of career growth plan as vertical or horizontal, however. Rather, there could be a mix of both. More vertical growth is believed to be fickle meaning it comes and goes so quickly. On the other hand overall career with combination of both lasts and sustains. Basically, vertical plans means developing the competencies that are required for the ‘role’ we are playing or are going to play. On the other side, horizontal is the plan that develops the competencies required for a role model.

There are many internal and external variables of any individual career. However, the foundation of any career is nothing but knowledge. Here, knowledge also covers information, skill etc.  It has more to do with rational intelligence.  How an individuals’ career grows and differs from another individual is based upon his/her rational intelligence provided they are fairly good at emotional intelligence. Meaning, if they are not good at managing emotions, however good they may be in skill and knowledge they can not succeed. There could be four main types of individual career growth plan if we see it from the view point of level and types of knowledge. All of them have their own merits and demerits. Some of us knowingly chose one of the types and develop the same in that pattern. Some others do follow it without knowing what their own career growth pattern type is. The main four of them are as follows:  



This is a type where an individual believes to gain not one not two but many fields of knowledge right from the very beginning. After completing formal university education or vocational training he/she step in to work and career. Instead of focusing and investing time and money into the field of work, he/she rather attempts to gain more knowledge, education, and training and may work on the other field (s). He/she feels there is a growth in the career but it is infelt a horizontal one. It might give an individual a feeing of satisfaction which is good from spiritual point of view. However, it will lead to a situation called “jack of many things master of none” which is dangerous phenomenon.


Vertical growth is a very common type where the individual gets into a trade/ profession/   vocation and goes on building more blocks on the same. An engineer keeps doing engineering work and also joins any training workshops, writes papers etc. all in the same area. He/she will reach the peak provided everything favors him/her. However this kind of career looks more like a black and white, no color. By this pattern people can not reach a stage of self actualization as projected by Abraham Maslow.


Another type of  career growth pattern  is ‘ HORITICAL’ this very word is a mix of ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ where one’s career grows horizontally in the beginning for the first few years, may be half of the productive years and subsequently changes to vertical. Generally, individuals who believe in gaining in due course of time diverse knowledge right from the beginning of the career may face consequences of not specializing in or focusing on one are. When they realize this fact they will decide to focus on one of the areas they are into and develop the same vertically. Since they are already fed up of ding many things they now probably will do only one or may be two things till the end of their career.


This type of career development pattern is exactly opposite of the type (c) above. Here, individuals develop themselves steep vertical in the beginning for half or more of the career period. They all focus in one or two things what they believe is their future. And also enjoy doing this. As time passes, their priority changes or they get bored doing all the time same thing and then they decide to diversify or add more items to their career menu. It may not always be diversifying but also adding more portfolios. For example, an engineer starts project management an actor starts film direction kind of thing. This pattern is close to the theory of Maslow’s need hierarchy. With the passage of time need changes. Human beings start moving towards self- actualization.  That leads them to horizontal pattern from vertical pattern. This will give rise to a situation called, ’jack of many things master of one.’

We have discussed, above, about four simple career growth patterns. Not necessarily there are only those smooth four patterns. There may be many others. These four models are not the standard prescriptions that fit to every one. Any individual may opt for any one of the four or may even jump from one to another. There is nothing like amongst the four, as above, any one is the best and another one is the worst. It all depends’ up on one’s choice. My experience says ‘most enjoying one is’ ‘VERZONTAL’ and most difficult one is ‘HORITICAL’. Now you can evaluate your own pattern and make sure which one you fall in to then redesign the same with purpose and choice.