Pros and Cons of Making a Lateral Career Change

A lateral career change, although not thrilling and sexy, may be just the opportunity your career needs to continue moving forward or upward. Just as there are pro’s and con’s to any career change, there are to a lateral move. Research, investigate and weigh your options to ensure you make the best move possible for your career.

Pros

Job Security: In a market of downsizing and corporate buyouts, a lateral move may simply save your job. The company is making an effort to keep you on staff; a lateral move to another department allows you to stay within your company. Worst case scenario, it’s easier to find a new job when you currently have a job.

Increased Company Awareness: A lateral move to another department will allow you to learn about another facet of the company. You were exceptionally knowledgeable in your previous department, if you have aspirations of upper level management, knowing another department inside and out will definitely help you move up the ladder quickly.

Opportunity to Learn: Sometimes a lateral move isn’t within your current company, it may be with a new one. This is move is an opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded individuals that will help you grow your skill set. This new challenge will allow you to build your arsenal of knowledge to bring to your next job; this is a growing and learning opportunity.

New Faces: This new department will allow you to expand your network of contacts both internally and externally; more is always better! Also, if you and your former boss didn’t always see eye-to-eye, this new boss may help revitalize your work life.

Work-Life Balance: Sometimes a lateral move is simply an opportunity to not commute as long or work as many hours. Making a lateral move to a new company will allow you better balance than what your current job offers. This new company may offer better benefits, retirement, and/or employee perks that all seemed to be missing at your previous job. Not to mention, there may be more room for growth at this new company.

Cons

Lateral Isn’t Sexy: True, it’s not the shiny, awesome new job, the dream job you always wanted, but sometimes you need to side step to reach that new, shiny job. This may just be the side step your career needs to get you to the next level. Sometimes the most exciting part of a new job is the pay increase, which may be lacking in a lateral job move. Do a little research and be sure you’re getting the full value of your new role – depending upon the results, you may be able to negotiate a pay increase.

Perceptions, Perceptions, Perceptions: If your lateral move is within the company, there may be talk and gossip (as there always is) as to why you moved departments, yet remained the same level. The decisions you make are for you, and you alone. If you have weighed all of your options and this move is the best for you, stick to your guns, hold your head high and stand with conviction. This will be tomorrow’s news in no time.

This is an important decision, one that should not be taken lightly. Weigh all the pro’s and con’s of the situation and determine the best avenue for you. Again, stand by your decision and make the very best of your situation. Good luck!

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