Keep in mind that a corporate career ladder is a myth. It’s not really a ladder but a pyramid. In other words, on a ladder, any one can climb as high as they can or wish. But in reality, it’s the corporate pyramid where you need to also outcompete and get lucky to climb up, because the higher you go the less spaces there are and each level. One has to fight others who can be smarter, more hard working or crazier in terms of sacrificing their health, relationships, sanity and family.
Don’t believe the myth of career growth and the corporate career ladder. It’s really a filter to seek out the most flexible and most loyal, not necessarily the most productive or smart. Don’t play this carrot in front of a donkey game for a meager 5-10% pay promotion when you can get 200-300% raise by working multiple full time jobs.
Luck plays a big role here too. If you started your career in times of boom or bust will determine the speed of your ascendence on the pyramid probably more than you smarts. Same for our competition. Investment Banking and FAANGs/MAMAAs are full of smart young (crazy) people without life — it’s very hard to compete with them compared to some old unsexy industry/company.