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Brachistochrone Curve and Career Paths

#TLDR: Career paths that have wider experiences and seem convoluted are stronger in the long run than narrow and straight functional ones.

If you take a look at the above experimental setup, you will see that there are two curved and one diagonal path. There are three balls at the top and the question is which path would be the shortest for the balls to reach from top to bottom. Geometrically, the shortest path seems to be the straight line, right? See the video clip below!

Our careers are also full of such options. It is always tempting to pursue the shortest path, but the question is whether it is the best path in the long run or not?


In my early #career, I had an assumption that if I stick with one function/area/industry, I would rise faster in my career and be able to do more. What I found was quite the opposite. Agree that there are still opportunities for single-function growth, but the majority of today's opportunities for growth look for people who are ready to explore new horizons to apply their experiences and skills.


The acceleration that you gain by working in different areas can more than compensate for the longer path that you take. In a world where knowledge is becoming more and more easily accessible, the human skill that is valued most is how to connect the dots and how to cross-pollinate success stories (as well as learnings from past failures) from one area to another. Here is a short article from 2013 to illustrate my point.


#PBJAM is a great place to discuss and explore such possibilities for you. #Peers from other companies/industries/functions/geographies are a great avenue to find out what awaits you next.


What has been your experience? What has been your preference? Write to us here or even send us a short video clip!


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