Up is Not the Only Way Rethinking Career Mobility

by Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, and Lynn Cowart

Move up or move out. When those two options appear to be the only ones, dissatisfaction grows and engagement suffers. In decades of studying careers around the globe, Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, and Lynn Cowart have found that, in fact, there are more options. And rethinking career mobility can lead you to them!

Career mobility isn’t just about moving to a new city or country. It’s about stretching, learning, and transforming. Whether you’re working on your own career or you’re a manager, a mentor, or a coach helping others, Up Is Not the Only Way offers you six ways to build successful mobile careers.

Keep the same job but discover multiple ways to learn and grow while staying in the same place. If a new job in the same company is in the cards, experiment and test possibilities. Make a lateral move as a powerful way to develop new skills. If stepping back is the right answer, discover how it can be done without derailing a career. Pursue a promotion when it’s the right time and role. And if it’s time to step out the door, the authors suggest how to make an elegant exit that maybe leaves open the possibility of a return one day.

The book includes important questions to consider—about interests, skills, values, and timing—when choosing to enrich or make a change. For each option, Up Is Not the Only Way explores how managers, coaches, and employees can have rich career conversations and partner to determine the best courses of action.

Rather than narrowing aspirations to one dream job or role, Kaye, Williams, and Cowart encourage readers to take a “kaleidoscope” view—to be open to ever-shifting patterns of options, opportunities, and possibilities—to build a rewarding career.


Praise for Up is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility

“This book is a refreshing take on a topic of interest to nearly everyone. Like a multifaceted diamond, it gives light in many directions”

Jack Zenger, CEO, Zenger Folkman, and bestselling coauthor of The Extraordinary Leader and Speed


“Filled with one ‘aha!’ moment after another, this book inspires and educates. It teaches us that career success is not one-size-fits-all. You’ll never think of your career in the same way again.””

Marshall Goldsmith, International bestselling author or editor of thirty-five books, including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Triggers


“Today, lateral moves, stretch assignments, and career resets are all part of the lifelong journey toward professional success and personal fulfillment. This book is an invaluable tool to navigate this complex new landscape.”

Sekhar Ramaswamy, Chief Talent Officer, Prudential


“I’ve found that individuals join organizations that they believe will grow their careers. This book will help everyone prepare for the development conversation and understand what it takes to own your own learning.”

Kimo Kippen, Vice President, Global Workforce Initiatives, Hilton