Non-traditional Career Trajectories with Learning

Learning is a great profession in that it prepares you for a number of domains and departments. You can move in and out of it.

I, for one, started as a creative writer (fiction) and worked as a professor, then became an instructional designer (everyone in the company started as an ID because we had nothing to sell otherwise), then a marketing content strategist, then a product marketer (to me, all these jobs felt very similar, as varied as they seemed from the outside), then a business leader and so forth. Along the way, wrote a textbook on instructional design with ATD and have moved in and out of wonky conversations about learning to business and back. I’ve found the background in instructional design to help immensely.

Any other similar experiences? Or experiences following a non-traditional path across domains? I have a thesis that the coming world will be more Generation Flux. Would love to connect!


My non-traditional career has made me such a better LXD. I didn’t start my career even knowing that it was an option. I always had the desire to teach, but didn’t want to be in front of a classroom. I spent the bulk of my early career in graphic design and marketing, I then shifted to doula work and childbirth education, then finally moved to corporate L&D. I am a problem-solver and teacher at heart, whether it’s in an operating room or behind a computer.


Your backgrounds are extraordinary indeed! I too have had a non-traditional career path that has led me to learning. It started when I launched a mini-concierge business in High School to fund my theater habit. My service was that I would aggregate what was new and interesting in entertainment and hospitality in NYC and DC, report on it to my subscribers and then “outsmart” Ticketmaster, Telecharge and other ticketing marketplaces (these technologies have since become far more sophisticated) to churn out the best seats for my clients. A unique amalgam of work across multiple domains - entertainment, hospitality, revenue management, client services, customer experience, marketing and education. My career has since led me to leadership roles in hotels, restaurants, e-commerce, entertainment, retail, experiential technology and, now, learning. I agree with you Christina – the ability to pivot and succeed amid chaos and disruption is a critical capability today…and an interdisciplinary, non-traditional career path helps to cultivate the IQ, EQ and practical wisdom necessary to thrive.