There may be times in your career when you feel stuck and stagnant. You go through the same routine every day, talk to the same people every week, and create the same reports every month. You wonder if there may be a chance to get promoted, or just to try something new. In these situations, a lateral move in your company may be the right solution for you.
What is a lateral move?
A lateral move is a move within your company (or to another company) that offers a similar pay grade, level of responsibility, and title. You may be performing a similar function for a new team or a different function. Regardless, your new pay and title will be comparable to your old one (with some exceptions). For example, if you are a manager within finance and you move over to a manager position within operations, that is most likely a lateral move. So, what are some good reasons to make a lateral move?
Expand Your Skillset and Employability
By lateraling to a new role, you’re given an opportunity to pick up additional skills. If you move from being a manager in finance to a manager in operations, you’ll still need your old management skills, but you’ll have to learn the nuances of operations. When I moved from an analyst position to a project manager position, I had to learn a whole new set of processes and procedures. I had to learn how to plan and coordinate each step of a project. Picking up these new valuable skills opened me up to a greater range of jobs and increased my employability. From that point on, I could take on both analyst or project management positions since I had both skillsets.
Increase Your Earnings Potential
With increased skills come increased earnings potential. After you get a few years of experience in a new function under your belt, you may become eligible for positions that require both skillsets. Since there are much fewer people that have combined skills and experience across functions, your set of skills can command a higher salary. I spoke to a recruiter recently, and he told me that having an additional skillset in my industry can help me command an extra $20,000 in salary.
Grow Your Connections
Whenever you move to a new team, you interact with new faces. The people that you left are still part of your professional network, and some of them may even remain good friends for the rest of your life. As long as you properly maintain your personal brand and integrity and put in good work, that network you have developed can pay dividends for many years to come. Somewhere down the line, you may need a reference or even a job. You can reach out to your network to help you. Somewhere down the line, someone in your network may be looking to fill a position. That person may refer or hire you.
Personal Development and Growth
Sometimes, you just feel that you need to try something new. You may be bored at your current role or feel that you are no longer growing as a professional. You may have lost that spark you once had. In these instances, it may make sense to lateral into a different role. For me, I know that I’m bored of a job when I have trouble waking up in the morning when my alarm rings. That’s my mind and body telling me that I am not being challenged and need to try something new. It has happened several times in my life and I have acted accordingly.
Have you ever made a lateral move that has helped you in the past?
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