14 Reasons to Make a Sideways Career Move

When it comes to your career path, sometimes “up” isn’t the only direction in which to travel.

A sideways or “lateral” move — defined as a move either within your current company or to a new organization with similar title, pay, and responsibility — can often pay off in the future.

Here are 14 reasons to make a lateral move.

Reason #1: You want to enhance your value and be more marketable

A lateral move often gives you the opportunity to gain additional skills and knowledge.

Reason #2: You’ll work with a better boss or supervisor

Sometimes making a lateral move is a good way to cement an opportunity to work with someone who will be a great mentor. These relationships can often have a positive and lasting effect on your career path.

Reason #3: You want more visibility

If you are working in a peripheral part of the company, making a lateral move to a more vibrant part of the company can give you the responsibility and visibility you desire.

Reason #4: You want to track yourself for a high-level position within your organization or industry

The more you learn about all facets of a particular company or industry, the more broad knowledge you’ll possess to perform senior roles to your fullest capacity.

Reason #5: You want to facilitate work-life balance

Whether you want to remain in a particular geographical area, spend less time commuting, or free up time for family or personal passions, a lateral move may allow you to maintain other things aside from work that are important to you.

Reason #6: You want to build your network within the company

Moving from one department or organization to another means working with new faces and making new contacts, both of which are integral to your career

Reason #7: You are burnt out, and want to revitalize

Changing departments or organizations is a good way to ensure you have new challenges to face, and are once again excited about going to work.

Reason #8: You want to avoid a layoff, or enhance job security

If your department is being downsized, or you don’t perceive it as being high up on the value chain, making a lateral move to another department can increase security.

Reason #9: You want to break out of a stagnant situation

You’re feeling at a dead end, or not quite sure where you want to go from here. Making a lateral move will help you explore new possibilities.

Reason #10: You want more opportunities for advancement

If you have stiff competition in your division and are constantly getting passed up for promotion, moving away from your current environment can provide new opportunity.

Reason #11: You want better benefits

Sometimes making a lateral move from one organization to another can provide you with significantly better benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and employee perks.

Reason #12: You want to better match your values with that of the department or organization

You may not get a fancy title or more money, but having values that align is invaluable when it comes to your motivation and happiness.

Reason #13: You want additional education

Many lateral moves come with training and additional education that only increase your value, both to your current employer as well as to future employers.

Reason #14: You are still searching for your dream job

If you find you don’t love what you do, exploring a lateral move can help you find a job you are passionate about.

Sometimes sideways is the best way

When considering your next career move, don’t discount the lateral move. Just like chess, sometimes sideways is the best move to get you to where you eventually want to go. 

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