The pursuit of climbing a career ladder for its own sake is one of the most meaningless goals ever, a product of a culture devoid of meaning and personal autonomy.
The greatest achievements of humanity stem from people pursuing a noble mission, not trying to get promoted to L7 at a large corporation.
Life in the western world is completely devoid of meaning for many if not most people. Most people dedicate the majority of their working hours to work they don’t care about, and much of the time is completely meaningless (for example I took a bus today from the Barcelona airport, and despite their being ticket machines, there was a lady in charge of selling tickets in front of the bus – a textbook bullshit job). This is partly why depression rates are higher than ever.
Our capitalist system forces us to make money to survive, and there are two ways to make money (short of being born rich): 1. climb the career ladder 2. be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is very difficult and inaccessible to most people, so naturally most must settle for climbing the career ladder.
Career ladders at corporations are rigid hierarchies defined by levels that are literally numbered (eg. Google entry level software engineers start at L3, or Level 3).
Climbing the career ladder is praised by the western propaganda machine as a noble achievement in and of itself.
Climbing the career ladder basically requires being an obedient slave, playing the rules of the game (eg. don’t job hop too much), posturing / sucking up to the right people, and gaming the promotion system.
There’s nothing wrong with advancing one’s career, but to make climbing the ladder itself the goal is completely meaningless and bound to lead to disappointment and the feeling of having wasted one’s life.
In a sane world, our governments would implement a basic income so that everyone would be free to work on whatever they are most interested in instead of having to sell themselves into wage slavery to the highest bidder. But unfortunately wage slaves and wage slave apologists do not realize this, and this goes against the interests of the wealthy entrepreneur class who benefit directly from cheap labor.
By all means take care of yourself, advance through the ranks, and get yourself greater respect and financial independence. But do not get lost in the videogame of corporate ladder climbing. Recognize that it is a game you may need to play for a time in your life, but that it is just a game, and not the end-all be-all.
One’s work should be devoted primarily to work that one finds meaningful. Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb because he was trying to climb some corporate ladder. Elon Musk didn’t invest his life savings into building Tesla or SpaceX for his resume. Pursue work you find meaningful, and let the status monkeys waste their lives keeping up with the Jones’.