Lateral Career moves: Try a Sideways Approach

Lateral Career moves: Try a Sideways Approach

A lateral move is a career change where an individual moves from one position to another with little change in their salary, title, or level.  That may not sound enticing, but hear me out. Career shifts are bound to happen throughout your career and lifetime. So why not explore and learn as much as possible to make more informed decisions about where you want to take your career? 

A lateral move can be the start of a more fulfilling career. A move like this can improve many parts of your work life and possibly be the stepping stone to your dream job.  

We’ve all seen something like this:   

Success is funny. Most of us want to get to it as fast as possible without realizing how vital the progression to the finish line is. 

We’ve all used Waze to find an alternate route to arrive at the same destination. Did that detour provide you with value in any way? Perhaps you discovered your new favorite scenic view or turned an unfamiliar face into a friend? Found a $20 bill? Came across a yard sale, a great coffee shop, ran into superman? The point is – it is great to be highly motivated and eager to reach a certain level of success or the next step in your career. It is just as important to recognize the value of the sidesteps and the little nuances that may put you in the right place at the right time down the road. Don’t confuse a detour with a lack of progress.  

Perhaps a steppingstone off to the side will require a greater investment of time, but it can also teach you a new skill or establish a new life habit that is the sole reason for your future success. If you were to treat the sidesteps, back steps and U-turns with the same attentiveness as your end goal – you may be all the wiser. 

Success doesn’t happen overnight. It is the small increments you put towards the big goals every day that create success. It is almost as if the process is more influential than the result – so why rush the experience? 

See Related Article: Career Progression and Career Paths are Rarely Linear.  

There are pros and cons to everything. Here are a few pros of a lateral career move:   

  • Gain exposure to a different area of your industry  
  • Better flexibility   
  • Improved learning environment – mentors available
  • Network expansion
  • Improved culture and quality of work-life
  • Better training and education   

Cheers to your current progress and future success.  

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