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J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Jan;24(1):118-21. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0834-3. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

Career development as a long-distance hike.

Author information

  • Career and Leadership Development Coach and Consultant, Falls Church, VA 22043, USA. Janetbickel@cox.net


Traditional images of achievement do not capture today's more complex career development realities. Approaching career development as a long-distance expedition can help professionals in addressing the strenuous challenges they face, in seeing that a career can be built in many ways, and in taking a long-term view of their journeys. Skills are like muscles, self-efficacy is like sturdy boots, advancement "how-to's" are like maps, and mentors are like trail guides. Among the tasks each hiker faces are selecting destinations, navigating through rough terrain and weather, and balancing their packs. To further their hikers' resilience, departments should pay more attention to the career development ecology, including improving access to qualified trail guides and to alternate paths.

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