How to Build a Nontraditional Career Path
Embracing Economic Disruption
by Ron Elsdon
August 2014, 200pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3158-4
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3159-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A growing number are pursuing “the American Dream” via nontraditional careers.

An invaluable resource for general readers at any career stage, this book explains why, when, and how to engage in a fulfilling, nontraditional career path that is both inspiring and practical.

The paradigm of the successful career has shifted. No longer is working for a single company or even within a single career field throughout one’s lifetime the norm. Today, many people are considering nontraditional paths to achieving success. How to Build a Nontraditional Career Path: Embracing Economic Disruption explains what such a career path looks like and details the benefits and challenges of pursuing this option.

Author Ron Elsdon identifies the types of individuals who will likely find nontraditional careers attractive and examines critical strategic issues, thereby enabling the reader to assess whether and how such a path might fit their personality, life goals, and career objectives. The information presented will benefit those considering “something different” at their entry to the workforce, individuals in middle or later career stages re-assessing their direction, people re-engaging with a career at an encore stage, or those whose previous career paths have been disrupted by an external event such as job loss.


  • Identifies the skills needed to be successful and the key questions to ask when considering a nontraditional career—and provides the tools and a "road map" to move forward in a nontraditional direction
  • Establishes the relevance and value of a nontraditional career, addressing both strategic and practical aspects
  • Provides authoritative, experience-based information derived from the author's own success in creating a nontraditional career path as well as his broad experience in the career field working with individuals and organizations
Ron Elsdon, PhD, is a founder of organizations in the career and workforce development fields. He is editor of Business Behaving Well: Social Responsibility, from Learning to Doing and Building Workforce Strength: Creating Value through Workforce and Career Development and author of Affiliation in the Workplace: Value Creation in the New Organization. Elsdon holds a doctorate from Cambridge University.


"If you have often thought about leaving your corporate career path to start your own business and did not know how to begin, then this is the book for you. Ron Elsdon has written a very creative and readable book with personal examples, plus all the aspects to consider before you make the change. This is a go-to guide for everyone who wants to make a change."—Barbara Langsdale, Vice President Marketing and Communications, We Care Services for Children

"Ron Elsdon’s How to Build a Nontraditional Career Path: Embracing Economic Disruption provides a comprehensive and humanistic look at nontraditional jobs. Using his own personal story, and those of others, he provides the reader with the critical questions they need to ask when beginning a nontraditional career, and then he provides useful insights on how to begin this exciting and challenging journey. A must-read, whether you are just starting your career path, or are planning your next phase."—Ron Visconti, Executive Director, Phase2Careers

"If you have ever considered leaving the often unfulfilling role of employee behind in favor of running your own business, then this is the book you need to read. It guides you through the journey with a detailed analysis of the steps needed for success and it provides the benefit of the author’s firsthand experience."—Kathleen Engelstad, Career Counselor and Former President of the California Career Development Association

"Ron Elsdon addresses an important work life issue, namely how to establish a new path of fulfillment, through assessment and integration of personal and career motivators, as well as marketplace alignment. The book’s broad perspective, practical details, and hard data give readers an invaluable foundation on which to build."—Lenore Mewton, Lenore Mewton & Associates – Career and Leadership Development, Coaching and Consulting

"We know the world doesn't work the way it used to, but there's little advice on how to reinvent ourselves for the 21st-century world of work. In this timely, insightful book Elsdon offers a brave new picture of careers for the future, where we can holistically honor our values, talents, and unique personality traits while generating multiple income streams."—Robin Wortley Hammond, Career and Performance Consultant

"Ron Elsdon has provided a complete process including assessments, resources, and check lists to understand the nontraditional career path. The ups and downs of choosing this work style were validated through Elsdon's personal experience and, for those who are either mid-career or retiring, it’s a way to continue to have a productive work life."—Patricia DeMasters, Director, Career Management Group, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

"A clear, comprehensive, and easy-to-read guide on what many of us are thinking about and already doing—the alternate career path. Ron has put everything together in one place—the background data, the work plan and more—now I know that my career path is doable (and not out of the ordinary). Thank you Ron!"—David Knego, Executive Director, Curry Senior Center
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