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My Squiggly Career Story – From Teacher to Tech

"Squiggly Career". You may have heard the term before, but what is this – and why does it matter?

Coined by co-authors Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis in their book The Squiggly Career - Ditch the Ladder, Discover Opportunity, Design Your Career, careers used to be about climbing up a ladder and trying to get to the top of that ladder as fast as possible. Careers were predictable and linear, and we knew what was coming next. 

When we used to think of what a successful career looked like, we thought progression had to equal promotion and the idea that we should all want the same thing in our careers at the same time.

Today that has changed, and many people are embracing a "Squiggly Career." Squiggly Careers are filled with endless ways to progress. A Squiggly Career might look like taking on a new project, meeting with a mentor, taking a course, or maybe networking. With the Squiggly Career, there is no such thing as a straight line to success anymore.

My Squiggly Career Story

I started my career as a school teacher, but after 3 years, I realized teaching wasn't my calling, so I decided to explore other options. Not sure what I wanted to do next, I decided to learn some new skills by doing a human resources online certificate degree and joining an HR networking group to learn more about the experience of the corporate world. 

Soon after completing my degree, I joined that corporate world, starting as a technical recruiter hiring for the aerospace industry–a big squiggle! About a year into this role, I saw an internal open role posting for a Learning and Development Specialist, was intrigued, and decided to go for it. 

With my manager's support, I interviewed for the role and was hired. Fast-forward 5 years later, and I'm still working in learning and development space and loving it.

My Squiggly Career has definitely been a rewarding and fun journey, and it's been one that works for me. But I've certainly had some learnings.

I've learned that when you squiggle, you have to take time to do a lot of reflection. Reflecting on what goals you want to achieve, what your values are, and what your strengths are. And ultimately I believe that staying curious, being open to different possibilities, and looking for ways to grow and learn are key to success.

To that end, I'm excited that Mimecast embraces the Squiggly Career and we host annual series of live 1-hour Squiggly Career workshops with author Helen Tupper herself!. The sessions are interactive and Helen shares the skills to progress your career at Mimecast and how to craft a career that works for you no matter where you are in your career. I hope to see you there one day!  


Diana Rock

Principal Learning and Development Consultant

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