Career metaphors explained
Our latest blog, in which Andrew goes a bit crazy, particularly on the stock images…
Careers advice is littered with clichéd imagery. This is particularly true at the start of your journey into the world of work (see what I mean?). Fortunately, Inspiring Interns is here to deconstruct some of the more popular terms for your blog-reading pleasure.
You are one side of a body of water. That represents your current employment situation. You are looking at the other side. That represents your career goal. To reach the other side, you have to walk across the stones. Each stone is a different stage of your career! Each step forward is a career progression! Utterly groundbreaking.
Now let’s take this further. The second stone represents your first job. You can’t reach it by jumping. The solution? The first stone! And the first stone is, as you may have worked out by now, an INTERNSHIP! Meta-glorious.
First rung on the ladder
Much like the stepping stone metaphor, this is all about taking steps towards your goal. Added ladder bonus – we’re climbing upwards not just across. For first stone, read first rung. The first rung is an internship! Stop me if I’m going too quickly.
Landing that first job (why do you ‘land’ a job?) is about opening up opportunities. And while our first two careers metaphors have dressed themselves in the cloak of movement and destinations, our old friend ‘gateway’ is a simpler, more prosaic image.
My dictionary defines gateway as “an opening that can be closed by a gate” but also, perhaps more usefully, “a means of access or entry to a place”. It is for this reason that we see gateway regularly crop up in the pantheon of advice – a university degree is the gateway to a better job; and internship is the gateway to your career. So to stretch that just a little further, if an internship is the gateway itself, Inspiring Interns are the ones holding open the gate. Boom! You’re welcome. Click here for the latest vacancies.
Foot in the door
Our journey through careers metaphors has led us through movement and opportunity; now we reach the realms of firm force. Feel like people are shutting you out? Need some sort of leverage to show what you can do? Get your foot in the door. That’s right, sometimes it feels like you need to (metaphorically) physically prevent someone from ignoring you and create and opportunity to show them your wares (NOT a metaphor). You can use your foot…or how about a doorstop? And, as you’ve almost certainly already guessed and groaned at, an internship IS the doorstop.
Actual useful conclusion
I imagine you are now completely sick of metaphors. I know I am. The fact we’ve managed to fill a whole blog with them is testament to the surplus of idioms lurking in careers advice. But hopefully having picked a few out and poked fun at them, the next time you see one you will adopt a wry smile, look knowingly at the person or text using it, and see beyond the cliché to the important points of what they are saying. Because for all the metaphors, there is some decent careers advice out there worth listening to.
Andrew James Scherer was thrust into this world in 1986 and from the moment he was born knew he was destined for the top…of the the Inspiring Interns Manchester office. Scherer somehow persuaded Inspiring to take him on in November 2009 and has been immovable since. Can be found @scheza on Twitter. You can also connect with Andrew on Google+!