Careers are often compared to ladders: You start at the bottom and -- slowly but surely -- climb your way to the top. The highest rung? A job with a "C" in front of it: CEO, for example, COO, CFO, CMO, or CIO. "The C-suite: It's not really a job. It's an achievement," says Monster contributor Kate Ashford. "When you get there, you know you've arrived in your career. "You may be a couple months from your first executive job, a couple years, or even a couple decades.