7 reasons why you should make a sideways career move

Want to get ahead? Consider moving sideways. We’re taught to believe that we must move up to succeed. But sometimes lateral moves can make more long-term sense.

“Much like a road map, there are multiple ways that you can reach your ultimate destination,” says Rebecca Supierz, Senior HR Manager at SEEK.

Think creatively about bridging the gaps, adds Therese Lardner, Senior Consultant Psychologist at Chandler Macleod. “The only way is not necessarily up. In fact it’s best to think in reverse. Think about the skill, knowledge and experience you want, and find a role that will give you that exposure and development.”

Think about the skill, knowledge and experience you want, and find a role that will give you that exposure and development.

Here are 7 reasons why a sideways move could be good for you:

  1. You could work with a better boss or mentor. Is there someone you really admire in your industry? Why not work with that person?
  2. It helps you build contacts and networks. We’ve all heard it’s “who you know, not what you know”. Being exposed to a raft of new colleagues could lead to great opportunities and be of long lasting benefit to your career.
  3. A larger organisation could give you more career opportunities. Working in a team of 40 compared to 10 might result in receiving a promotion more quickly.
  4. A sideways move can advance your skills and knowledge. If you want to receive some management experience but don’t have the chance in your current role, moving into a different department or organisation could provide you with this opportunity, says Superiez. What’s more, another organisation might offer better training or educational opportunities.
  5. To get a better culture fit. If you feel aligned to your organisation’s values and culture your working day will be more satisfying.
  6. It gets you around a road block. Is there a person standing in your way who’s unlikely to leave anytime soon? You might need to move sideways to get around this road block.
  7. You’re stagnating. If you feel like you’re getting nowhere and can’t move to the next level, move sideways to new pastures and love what you do. Sometimes it’s time for a change and that could reinvigorate your passion for your career.