The Squiggly Career Book Summary - The Squiggly Career Book explained in key points
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The Squiggly Career summary

Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis

Ditch the Ladder, Embrace Opportunity and Carve Your Own Path Through the Squiggly World of Work

4.5 (242 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis is a guide to navigating the modern career landscape with its twists, turns, and possibilities. It provides actionable advice for identifying and pursuing fulfilling and purpose-driven careers in the age of increasing uncertainty and rapid change.

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    The Squiggly Career
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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Compared to previous generations, we have more freedom to decide how our careers play out.

    Careers used to progress according to internal corporate structures and promotions, but this approach is becoming increasingly outdated. Now, more than ever, it’s up to us to decide where we want to be, what we want to do, when we want to do it, with whom we want to do it, and, perhaps most importantly, why we want to do it. 

    The key message here is: Compared to previous generations, we have more freedom to decide how our careers play out.

    Besides glaring spelling mistakes on your resume, job-hopping used to be a surefire way to get a hiring manager to disregard your application. Nowadays, it’s not only more common, but increasingly seen as a positive facet in an applicant. After all, multiple starts in your career indicate an unwillingness to settle for anything less than the best. Trying different routes suggests adaptability and open-mindedness, and it usually means you’ve picked up new skills and perspectives along the way.

    Automation is also constantly transforming and replacing professions. According to a study by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, as many as 375 million people might have to change their career fields in the next ten years. Rather than having proficiency in a specific area, work is now more centered around projects and relevant skills. Learning to adapt to new technologies and industries will ensure that you have opportunities well into the future. Your career will always be a work in progress, so it’s a good idea to give lifelong learning a permanent timeslot in your daily routine.

    These changes are leading to more flexibility in how we work, which can positively impact both employees and companies. A YouGov study found that implementing flexible working hours increased employee productivity by 72 percent. For some, this new freedom means they can work from home, a café, or even a tropical island. 

    But having more flexibility presents its own challenges. Too much remote working can lead to loneliness, due to the sheer lack of human interaction. Many people also find it difficult to unplug and keep their work life and downtime separate. 

    Navigating your big-picture plans without a road map can be a daunting task, so start small. Identify practical changes you can make to begin squiggling your way through a rewarding career.

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    What is The Squiggly Career about?

    The Squiggly Career (2020) covers research and tips on how to best navigate a career full of frequent transitions and modern-day challenges. If we learn to identify our own strengths, values, goals, and motivations, we can apply them more often at work – and notice when they’re being neglected. The authors reveal how to network by helping others, the merits of starting a side project, and how to make the most of the newfound control we have over our careers.

    The Squiggly Career Review

    The Squiggly Career (2019) by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis explores the changing landscape of modern careers and offers practical advice for navigating the twists and turns. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its insightful research and case studies, the book provides a fresh perspective on what success looks like in today's work environment.
    • It offers practical strategies for embracing uncertainty, taking risks, and finding fulfillment in non-linear career paths.
    • Through its engaging storytelling and relatable examples, the book keeps readers hooked, making career exploration and growth an exciting journey.

    Who should read The Squiggly Career?

    • Job-hoppers looking for direction
    • College grads wondering what the next step is 
    • Anyone seeking insight into the new job market

    About the Author

    Helen Tupper is the cofounder and CEO of the award-winning career development company Amazing If. She previously worked at Microsoft, Virgin, and BP. The Squiggly Career is her first book.

    Prior to becoming the cofounder and Chief Learning Officer of Amazing If, Sarah Ellis managed marketing and corporate responsibility teams at Barclay’s and Sainsbury’s. The Squiggly Career is also her first book.

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    The Squiggly Career FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Squiggly Career?

    The main message of The Squiggly Career is that career paths are no longer linear, and embracing a flexible and exploratory approach leads to success.

    How long does it take to read The Squiggly Career?

    The reading time for The Squiggly Career varies depending on the reader's speed. However, you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Squiggly Career a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Squiggly Career is worth reading as it provides valuable insights into navigating modern careers and offers practical advice on adapting to change and finding fulfillment.

    Who is the author of The Squiggly Career?

    The authors of The Squiggly Career are Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis.

    What to read after The Squiggly Career?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Squiggly Career, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • You Coach You by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis
    • Designing Your Work Life by Bill Burnett
    • Career Fear (and how to beat it) by Somi Arian
    • Best Job Ever by C. K. Bray
    • The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
    • Transcend by Scott Barry Kaufman
    • The Success Trap by Amina Aitsi-Selmi
    • Big Potential by Shawn Achor
    • The Power of Nunchi by Euny Hong
    • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell