By Perminus Wainaina

We all know the old script: join a company, work hard, move up the ladder. But it’s been decades since that was a reliable path, and not just because of layoffs or outsourcing or robots.

These days, the culprit preventing many professionals from identifying a clear career path at their company is simply that one no longer exists. Given that successful companies must often pivot to adapt to changes in the marketplace, and the half-life of many skills is now estimated to be five years or less, companies often have no idea what staffing needs they’ll have in a few years’ time or who would be qualified to fill them.

As such, your career progress may only sometimes be linear — and often, may instead appear diagonal or horizontal. In this case, you can accept the current situation and wait for an improvement, or else consider options externally.

However, if colleagues are being promoted ahead of you it is a clear sign that opportunities exist but that you are not being considered for them. Why is this?

If you are looking for a move upwards or across and don’t seem to be getting it, here is a reason you should keep in mind, and how you can make it work for you: