Making a Lateral Move

By Paula Santonocito

smw - making a lateral moveIf you’re like most single-minded women, you’re interested in career advancement. So what should you do if you’re offered a lateral move?

Moving Up

The career ladder, for the most part, is a poor metaphor. In truth, very few people ascend to career heights by climbing rung by rung along one narrow pathway.

Careers tend to involve a variety of moves. Sometimes those moves are within the same company; other times they’re within the same or similar industry. In still other circumstances, career moves involve remaining in the same profession or using the same set of skills but in a completely different environment.

Although you would ideally like a promotion, and the additional compensation that comes with it, such an opportunity may not be available. In today’s organizations especially, where there tend to be fewer layers of management, it can be difficult to climb another rung and acquire the perks and prestige associated with next level job.

Nevertheless, career opportunities do exist.

Toward Advancement

And yes, sometimes taking advantage of those opportunities require what appear to be lateral moves.

However, keep in mind that a lateral move isn’t really a lateral move if it ultimately advances your career.

Here’s an example.

Say your goal is to one day run an advertising agency. Right now you work in the marketing department of a large corporation, writing ad copy. Because job options within the company are limited, you’ve been looking outside the organization for an opportunity where you can advance your career.

Recently, you interviewed for a job with a large ad agency. The position would immediately allow you to use your copywriting skills, and you would manage a small budget. In addition, the agency is really into staff development and has already said you will have a chance to learn graphic design, something you’ve had your eye on. The job basically pays what you’re making now, and your title would be the same.

Although the job may look like a lateral move, it actually allows you to take on new responsibility (managing a budget) and develop additional skills (graphic design). Plus, the job is with an ad agency, and a large one at that. As a result, this job would definitely help further your career goal of overseeing an ad agency. Lateral schmateral. You’re moving in a direction you want to go, and ultimately that direction will lead up.

Here’s another example.