It's hard to pinpoint when or why it began, but these days the CEOs of America's best known companies have attained a fame that rivals that of professional athletes and rock stars. High profile corporate leaders are being idolized, scrutinized, and televised. With salaries, bonuses, and exit packages that rival those of America's best known celebrities, the position of corporate CEO has gained more than a little sex appeal (2005 Howard).
While many employees in the retail industry today have their eye on the seemingly glamorous chief executive job, the goal seems distant and somewhat unattainable. There are plenty of great musicians who never make a platinum record. There are also plenty of brilliant employees who will never attain rock star CEO status. As the lines between business and celebrity start to blur, retail employees are left wondering if progressive career paths still exist or if, like rock stars, they're going to have to hope for a “big break” to make it to the top of the retail industry (2005 Howard).
Famous CEOs Leave Clues for Career Advancement
Today's ascent up the retail corporate ladder is less like a singular climb up a sturdy structure and more like a blind and crowded crawl around an unmarked labyrinth with shifting walls. Well-established and fixed hierarchies have given way to constant shuffles of the org chart boxes. Just when you think you have your next move mapped out, some overpaid OD consultant swoops in and changes the topography. It's like a bad road trip in the family SUV. You can see where you want to go, but you can't find a way to get there from here.
There are very few companies that will take employees by the hand and lead them through their career journey any more. Employees today are left to use their own navigational skills to make their way to the penthouse office suite. It may be a mysterious journey, but it's not an impossible one. By reconstructing the professional route that some well-known CEOs took to get to the top, certain similarities and patterns emerge. A single executive's work history may not mapquest the most relevant career path for contemporary corporate America, but each path can provide clues to those retail employees who are looking for career advancement direction (2005 Howard).
Traditional Rise Through the Retail Ranks
Progressive promotion is the old school strategy for success ...