Sunday, April 1, 2012

Promotion or lateral move? No brainer, right? Not so fast.

Well #workinggirl, after landing that first job after college, you are on the right track and have begun building a solid career foundation.  You are going above and beyond and your leaders are starting to take notice.  This may not be your dream job, but you know it's only a matter of time before you are moving onward and upward to bigger and better things.

You are the official/unofficial team leader and you are starting to become the go to person on your team.  You like your work, though you just aren't sure if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.  Suddenly, you are smack in the middle of your first true career dilemma: Seek a promotion within your current department/company or pursue a lateral position externally to gain experience in a different area?

This is the question career professionals have been asking themselves since their very first job offer.  You may think the obvious choice is the promotion, right?! I mean who wouldn't want more money?  But before you accept that promotion, make sure you ask yourself these 3 questions.

1.  Is this the area of work you enjoy and want to continue working?  What's the point of having more headache and responsibility if you aren't 100% sure you even like the work?  Life is too short to be miserable 40+ hours a week.

2.  Is your goal to be a senior executive one day, and if so, what breadth of experience is needed to make it in your industry?  Many people that are ultimately selected as CEOs have experience in many different functional areas.  If you only have one or two areas of expertise, your career progression may eventually reach a dead end.

3.  Are you at risk of being pigeon-holed or is the experience you currently have easily transferred to other business areas? We all have experience with people in our departments that have been there for-ever.  Sometimes known as "lifers" they have been there so long and their skills are so specialized, the perception is they don't have the ability to work anywhere else.  Don't fall into that trap.  

Only you can answer what is best for you and your career.  Just remember, the correct choice isn't always the most obvious one.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

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