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Embracing the "Squiggly Career" - Insights from Anna Wiseman

Anna Wiseman
10 May 2024
Embracing the

In the latest episode of the "Arts and Everything in Between" podcast, Lucy Costelloe sits down with Anna Wiseman, Director of Wise Collaborations, to discuss the concept of a "squiggly career" and how it applies so perfectly to careers in the arts and cultural sector.

If you're feeling stuck on a linear career path or struggling to explain your own unconventional professional journey, this insightful conversation is a must-listen - you can find it here, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

By way of a sneak peek, here are some key takeaways:

The Squiggly Career Explained

Rather than the traditional corporate ladder, a squiggly career path winds and zigs and zags based on your values, interests and strengths rather than just chasing promotions and higher pay.

Anna describes two career modes:

Rockstars - Specialists who have found their groove and passion in a particular role/skill. Superstars - Generalists who thrive on variety, continuous learning, and taking on new challenges.

Working in the arts sector, with its ever-shifting landscape and need for flexibility, naturally lends itself to developing a squiggly career as a "superstar."

Embracing Your Values

A crucial part of intentionally cultivating your own squiggly career is getting clear on your core values. Anna went through coaching to identify hers and now filters all potential opportunities through that values lens. This allows you to stay true to what intrinsically motivates you rather than being distracted by titles or money.

Transferable Skills of Arts Professionals 

The podcast highlights how the very nature of working in arts and culture sets people up to have successful squiggly careers. Arts professionals are adept at:

  • Shapeshift to get things done despite constraints
  • Collaborate across different teams/stakeholders
  • Constant learning and finding creative solutions
  • Balancing old/new technologies
  • Prioritising relationships

Overall, Anna makes a compelling case that squiggly careers are a great fit for those drawn to the artistic world. Her story demonstrates how an unconventional path allows you to cultivate a uniquely valuable mix of skills and experiences.

So if you're looking for inspiration to embrace your own professional squiggliness, tune in to this thought-provoking discussion. You'll walk away with a fresh perspective on transforming your career into a customised journey aligned with your biggest strengths and motivations.

About Anna Wiseman
Anna is Director of Wise Collaborations, with a proven track record in leading strategic projects change management and supporting purpose-driven organisations to scale successfully. With a wealth of experience at the intersection of arts, culture and tech for good, Anna loves helping small organisations with important ambitions to grow.


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