Moving up the career ladder is the pinnacle of a ‘successful career’ to most; however, within today’s working world and uncertain economy, that option does not always exist…or it takes a VERY long time. After all, there’s only so much room at the top! You don’t have to be ‘stuck’ where you are either…it may be the right time to consider a lateral career move, where you change jobs at your current company or another company/industry, and remain at a similar job level and salary. Apples to apples… well, maybe not… maybe apples to oranges.
Here are 7 reasons why a lateral career move may be just what you need:
1. If you feel your career has stagnated, or you’re in a rut, a lateral career move might ‘shake things up’ for you by providing new challenges within a new department. Lateral moves often expose you to a different company culture, while still having new, but familiar job responsibilities. Payoff: Short learning curve - new environment.
2. You need to develop new skills to stay relevant: A lateral move will most likely enable you to learn new processes, and ways of doing things, in a new department/company where you can gain additional marketable skills and increase your cross-training, which then increases your value. An employee that can work in many departments usually has an enhanced amount of job security if layoffs loom on the horizon. This can also make you more marketable should you find a pink slip in your inbox.
3. You would like a new boss: Change your job, and you will - usually - get a new boss. This opens the door to new mentoring opportunities. Although you may have to prove yourself again, if you’ve done your research, you may find that there are more opportunities in your new location.
4. You want to maintain your current work / life balance: Juggling family priorities, kid’s schedules, and personal time with a demanding work schedule can be challenging. Maintaining the same level of responsibilities at work, and a decent commute, while enjoying a shorter learning curve in a new position can make a lateral move very appealing.
5. You want to build your network: We all love trying to figure out who to connect with on LinkedIn - right? But it is still important to connect fact-to-face. Going to work in a new department or company can increase the ‘who you know’ quota, which in turn can be beneficial for any future job search efforts.
6. You want to increase your visibility: Maybe you are a small fish in a big pond now; however, by moving laterally to a small company, you become a big fish in a small pond and gain a higher level of visibility or a more impressive title.
7. You asked for a raise at your current job, and you’ve been told ‘no’: So you most likely will not a get a higher salary with a lateral move; however, you will begin to increase your knowledge across various departments, industries, and or business processes that enable you to build your value and ‘better’ justify your request for a higher salary down the road.
Like any employment decision, you want to make sure that the new position you secure will fulfill your professional goals at the time; position you for success, and - should you want to move up the ladder - enable you gain new opportunities.