There are many ways to advance your career, but it is rarely a straight path. You can advance your career by staying with one company and methodically climbing up the ladder, although this method is on the downswing.You can advance your career by leaving companies every 3 to 5 years. Or you can quit your job and start your own company, which often leads to new career opportunities, even if the company fails.In reviewing my career, I’ve realized that there are certain types of people that have consistently helped me advance to the next level. I’ve been able to use them as sounding boards and ask questions that I normally wouldn't ask, and they’d provide honest feedback. This was extremely important. These are the ten people you need to have relationships with in order to accelerate your career:

I was sitting in the aisle seat on a plane en route to California for a client project.The person next to me had to go to the bathroom quite a bit. So this meant that every time he had to go, I had to get out of my seat. It was annoying. The 4th time this happened I gave him this blatantly obvious and rude 'are you kidding me?' look.Right before the flight landed, I opened instructions on how to get the client office. He immediately recognized what I opened and said to me, "Robbie?" I was shocked. I said, "Yes! How do you know my name?" Then he told me something I'll never forget."I'm your manager, pleasure to meet you."

Story #1 - My company assigned me to a client that I really had no interest in helping out for various reasons. Normally you can't turn down client requests because "you don't want to." I had a 5 minute open and honest conversation with a director and I was dropped from the project and re-assigned to another client with no questions asked.He was a true professional because he wanted to make sure that I was happy and respected my reasons for saying no. He went out of his way to help me when he really had no obligation to do so.

This Question Should be Banned From All Job Interviews"What was your salary at your current or last job?"I know… You hate this question too. Why is this a bad question?Imagine going to a farmers’ market and telling the vendor that you want to buy three oranges. Can you imagine your reaction if the vendor’s response was, "OK. But first, tell me how much you want to pay for these oranges, or how much you were willing to pay for them the last time?"That's an example of how ridiculous this question is. The farmer wants ME to tell HIM how much HIS oranges are worth to me?It's a great question for the farmer (or the employer), but an absolutely terrible question for the consumer (or job candidate).