Move sideways to move up

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You think that you are close to having all squares neatly in one color and then you need to mess it all up again to make progress to the final stage.

Well that’s how your career can be, you think you have a great position, the boss is happy, your team is happy, so what is there not to like? The issue is that you may need to have another piece of experience before you can move up the ladder. This may mean having to accept a position that is not necessarily a promotion but maybe a sidestep or demotion. It may also be that you need experience in another region or location or business before you can move up to bigger and better things.

Making a sideways move can be intimidating, certainly when it involves uprooting the family and moving house, region or country. So why do it? Well if you want to be a well rounded professional and a senior player in the company you will have to be prepared to get the right profile. If it is not possible to get that experience where you are now or at the level you are now, you need to be prepared to, temporarily move somewhere else and come back to reap the benefits.

Moving sideways or voluntarily, for career purposes, taking a downgrade is not without risk. You could get stuck in the new position and not be able to find your way back and not get the intended benefit out of the move. It certainly helps if you have a, formal or informal, mentor in the company who monitors your progress.

Here are some tips to bear in mind when you are planning your career:

  • Be clear about your career goals, make sure senior management and/or HR knows why you are pursuing this move.
  • Go for the new position, you will need a success to be able to move again, so work seriously at acquiring the necessary insights and experiences.
  • Ensure you can afford to take a downgrade, do not live at the edge of your financial options and you’ll be a lot more relaxed.

the planRemember always up and up is not the most likely way to get to the top, roses and trees need to be carefully pruned before they can shine, similarly careers need to be pruned and tuned before they will produce the desired result.