By Patricia Sellers
October 19, 2009

“You need to build your career not as a ladder, but as a pyramid,” Yahoo

CEO Carol Bartz said in the New York Times yesterday. I wholeheartedly agree: In today’s ever more complex world, you need to build a broad experience base–with peripheral vision and a willingness to make lateral moves. If you’ve been reading Postcards, you know that my favorite image is a jungle gym. That’s kind of like Bartz’s pyramid.

You can read more of Bartz’s career advice in her first-personer, “Just Deal with it.” But it was at last month’s Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit that she spoke about public-company board work as essential to career-building and vented about the “nonsense” of CEOs prohibiting high-potential execs from serving on other companies’ boards. The Yahoo chief is colorful, as usual, as she describes her first board meeting as the new CEO of Autodesk

in 1992, the day after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I didn’t even know what a friggin’ board was,” she says:

[cnnmoney-video vid=/video/fortune/2009/10/12/f_mpw_bartz_yahoo_boards.fortune]During her 14 years running Autodesk, pre-Yahoo, Bartz was on the boards of Cisco

, Intel

, NetApp

and BEA Systems–until it was acquired by Oracle

. That’s a heavy load that I’d say paid off in prepping her for Yahoo, where she arrived in January. My Fortune colleague Adam Lashinsky and I have sparred on the value of such multiple directorships. We’ll see tomorrow how well Bartz is doing. She’s due to report Yahoo’s quarterly earnings.

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