Everyone, at some point of time or the other, hits a roadblock in their professional lives. A lateral career move can be a brilliant way to try out something new without forgoing of your experience in the field.
While the world has slowly and steadily recovered from the economic downturn that it had seen in the past couple of years, the job market is still pretty sluggish. Often it can be difficult to find a job in your area of work. In such a situation, considering a job shift to another sector can be an option that should be taken very seriously. It is also a choice that you can make if you feel like your professional life has reached a dead end. Whatever your reason, lateral job shifts can often be exactly what you need to look outside your humdrum existence and do something different and challenging in your work life.
Why Opt for Lateral Career Move?
It can be quite a huge step to move from your comfort zone and thinking of opting for a job in another department or another sector. But such a career jump, though a cause for nervousness can be in fact a very good move. With the changes that have occurred all over the world where organizational structure and company hierarchies are concerned, seeking a lateral promotion may actually be a good idea.
Many companies, in the wake of recession, did away with middle management position, and obviously promotion opportunities went down. In such a scenario, an employee with great work experience across the board is always a better candidate to be taken seriously. Lateral job shifts are often great ideas for a career change. An ability to make use of a job opportunity in another department also gives you a channel to showcase your potential in another department making you a valued employee.
Another reason to opt for a career move laterally is because it makes you a more worthy employee and also improves your saleability in the market. Think of it as an employer. Any person running an organization would rather have an employee who is proficient in a number of different sectors than an employee who works well in a single department. Such a career move can be a huge addition and embellishment to your resume.
If you have reached a level of stagnation in your work, then making a move laterally may help you get a clearer picture of what other opportunities lie in front of you. It will also give you the opportunity to meet new people and work with different teams. A great thing about lateral moves is that though the new position comes with having to learn new things from scratch, the stress levels may not be as high as getting a promotion in your previous department. Since you would be assigned to a position at the same level as your last department, you will be more capable of tackling new work pressures.
While such career moves can generally do a lot of good for a person, it may be a good idea to also reflect on the downsides of such a move. Remember that there is always a possibility that you may be viewed as someone who lacked the requisite abilities to qualify for a promotion in your own department. Occasionally, it is also easy to consider this move as a hurdle in your path to achieving your goal.
You may not always receive a higher salary. In fact, more often than not, your salary will pretty much remain the same. There is also the added stress of learning several new things. If you have been given the option of making a career move laterally, then it is important that you take a look at both sides of the coin before making a final decision.
How to Make a Lateral Career Move?
If you feel like your present job has reached a level of monotony that you cannot fight and you want a change in the form of a new challenge, then a lateral professional move may be the answer for you. Most people tend to view a job move into another department as professional suicide because who would want to forsake all that they have worked for.
But, it is not necessarily so. Though not in the same field, your move can gain a lot from the experience that you already possess. So, if from the section above you have managed to understand the pros of a lateral job shift and have decided to make the move, we tell you how you can go about the process.
- Firstly if this job opportunity has not been given to you, then you need to take a look at the different avenues open to you and decide what seems the most appealing.
- Make a list of your skill set and see how these skills can hold you in good stead in a new job.
- It is also extremely important that you consider how this job change will affect your long term goals and also what career opportunities will present themselves to you, if you take the plunge.
- It is important that the job shift gives you both personal and professional happiness, so ensure that you do not lose sight of this.
- Also, before making the move, make a list of all those reasons that are responsible for you to consider this move.
- If you have a mentor or a guide, then it may be a good idea to always consult this person before you make the jump. Sometimes, it is easy to ignore the obvious when you are looking at it yourself.
Making a jump in your career laterally is something that needs to be well planned out and that needs you to give it a lot of thought. Shifting from one field of work to another is never easy and without giving it proper thought, you would be treading a very fine line.