Long gone are the days when you worked your way up a company’s ranks and never changed jobs. In No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller The Squiggly Career, authors (and career experts) Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis explain how work culture is changing, and give advice on how to make it work for you. Here’s an extract.


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Welcome to your squiggly career.

  The world of work has changed dramatically in the last few decades and for the most part it’s changed for good. Today, careers are filled with endless opportunity but those opportunities also come with more complications. Most of us are seeking jobs that excite and fulfil us, where we can use our strengths, do good, work flexibly and learn new skills. We’ve come to expect a lot from our careers, and are constantly told to ‘love your job’, ‘follow your dreams’ and ‘live your best life’. But this aspirational advice often feels far-removed from our reality. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘follow your dreams’ when you have rent or a mortgage to pay, a boss to keep happy and expectations from colleagues and friends that you should be available on email or text 24/7.

There’s a gap between the promise of the new world of work – a shiny world full of opportunity, creativity and freedom that we know exists – and the real situation that most people find themselves in their careers today. And building the bridge to this new world of work is going to take more than pithy advice and inspirational quotes.

So, what does it take? To find happiness in the modern world of work, and take control of your career now and in the future, you need to develop a set of five career skills. These skills are:

  1. Super Strengths: the things you are great at. You need to know what your strengths are and take action to make sure your strengths stand out and show up across everything you do. 
  1. Values: what makes you you. You need to know what motivates and drives you. Knowing your values will help you make the right career decisions and understand other people in a meaningful way.
  1. Confidence: belief in yourself. We all have ‘confidence gremlins’, the things that hold us back at work. You can learn how to cage these gremlins and to build your resilience by focusing on your successes and developing a strong support system.
  1. Networking: people helping people. You need to figure out how to build relationships in a way that works for you and learn to build an effective network based on what you can give rather than gain.
  1. Future Possibilities: exploring options. Career plans are a thing of the past, your focus should be on identifying future possibilities and taking action to explore them in the present. You need to know what your work ‘why?’ is and start thinking about future proofing your career now.

It is within everyone’s capability and power to develop these skills no matter what stage of your career you are at – whether you’ve just started out in your first job, a manager leading a team of 10 people or just launched your own business, mastering these skills will be crucial to finding happiness and success in work.

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