lateral job move

Administrative Expert and Creative Writer

A lateral job move is also known as a horizontal or sideways career move. It means moving to a new position in another company or department without any change in salary or perks. Normally, in a lateral or sideways job move, responsibilities, salary, and other benefits remain the same. People just change the company or the department. In a nutshell, it means moving for a job in a similar position e.g. changing the company or department with a little change in role, title, salary, and other benefits. Let’s discuss the meaning, pros and cons of a lateral or sideways job move in detail.

Lateral job move meaning

Professionals always have a desire to constantly climb the corporate ladder upward. Therefore, when someone looks for a new opportunity, they expect some more opportunities from it. But progressing at a job doesn’t mean that someone always has to move upward. Sometimes, a lateral or sideways career move is also essential for progress. It means sometimes it is necessary for you to change the company or the department even without a change in the title, salary, responsibilities etc.

Types of lateral or sideways move

Lateral or sideways career moves are two types, which are i) Change job but not the company & ii) Change company but not the job. Both of them can be beneficial for your career if you can make the right decision at the right time. Let’s discuss it in detail-

1. Change job but not company

It means you are making a move within the same company. It happens when employees are transferred to a new department or assigned to a new role. In that case, the employee has to deal with a new responsibility but still remains familiar with the corporate culture and work environment.

2. Change company but not job

It happens when an employee moves for the same position at another company. In that case, the employee may face a new It means you are making a lateral move within the same company. It happens when an employee is transferred to a new department or assigned to a new role. In that case, the employee has to deal with a new responsibility but still remains familiar with corporate culture and work environment but he or she will be familiar with most of the job’s skills, requirements and responsibilities.

Pros and cons of lateral job move

A lateral or sideways career move is not a promotion but it can be a game-changer if you take to make the decision at the right time. Similarly, if a sideways move is made at the wrong time then it can be proved to be very negative for the career. Here are some major pros and cons of a lateral job move –

Pros – Why lateral move is good

1. Experiencing new work culture

A lateral career move will allow you to work in a different work environment. Therefore, you will be able to experience a diversified corporate culture. It is a good thing for your career. Because having experience of diversified work culture you will be able to adopt new things quickly. It will also help you to face any challenges at work.

2. Learn diverse skills-set

A lateral job move will expose the opportunity to work at a new company or department, meaning that you will learn a lot of new skill-set. It is a continuous skill development process that is essential to make you a more capable employee.

3. Job satisfaction

If you are currently not satisfied with your job, you should try to make a move to a new job. In that case, a move with promotion is preferable, but if not possible, move sideways. A sideways move can be useful to find a job that you love, which will make you a happy and productive employee.

4. Change in leadership

If you are dealing with a toxic boss, a sideways move is essential for you. If you are working under an awful leader then work life is really on a devastating path. So, it is better to make a move and work for a dynamic leader.

5. Grow professional network

If you change your job, it will enable you to meet new people. Therefore, your professional network will grow bigger. It will uplift your position in the corporate world.

6. Rediscover your passion

Everyone wants to start their career in a job they are passionate about. So, at the beginning of our careers, we all were optimistic and excited. However, it becomes more difficult for many of us to maintain that early sense of zeal, and our excitement fades with time. And many of us discover that our passion is something else. In that circumstance, a sideways move can be very helpful to find a job that matches our passion.

7. Pursue future opportunity

If you feel that the new job has more future opportunities than your existing one you should make a move. Also, a new job will help you to learn a lot of new skills that can help you to get a promotion in future.

Cons – Why lateral move can be bad for the career

1. New start

Starting with a new company can be difficult. Also, Integrating oneself into a new work culture requires time and effort. Moreover, nobody can guarantee that the new job will be better than the existing one. So, while making a lateral job move, consider the time and effort that you will need to adapt to the new culture and the organization.

2. Possible stagnation

In a lateral role, you are starting from the beginning. So, you may have to wait longer to get a promotion. Therefore, a sideways move can stagnate your professional growth for a more extended time.

3. Completely new environment

Moving to a new job means you will face a completely unknown work culture. Everything including, their policy, process, and management will be new to you. So, if you are not a quick learner it will be difficult for you to cope with the new environment immediately. So, before making the sideways move you must think about the time and effort that you need to adjust to the new environment.

When to make a lateral career move

Making a decision for a sideways move is very crucial as it can be the determinant of the success or failure of your career. Here are some situations when you should make a lateral career move

a) To increase Job security

If you do not have enough job security in your current job, you should move to a job with better job security. In that case, changing the company but not the job is a better option.

b) To pursue future promotion

If you feel that your current job has a limited opportunity of promotion in the future you should switch the job. Here, if you realize that the chances of future promotion in your company are limited then you should go for the “Change company but not the job” approach. On the other hand, if you realize that your current role will not be in much demand in the future, you should go for a “Change job but not the company” approach.

c) To capitalize the opportunity of learning new skills

If you find a job that offers more scope to learn new skills in your respective field, you should make a lateral move. In that case, both internal and external moves can be made.

d) To avoid working under a toxic boss

Working for a long period under a bad boss will have a detrimental influence on your emotional and mental health. You should quit if you are certain that your efforts will not be sufficient to change the work environment. Because it’s sometimes easier to find a new job than it is to keep the one you have.

e) To make family and work-life balance

Family and work-life balance are really important for your mental and emotional health. If your current job doesn’t offer a family and work-life balance opportunity, you should look for a change. Otherwise, your productivity will be hampered.

Summary of “Lateral Job Move: Meaning, Pros and Cons”

Professionals have an insatiable drive to go up the corporate ladder. As a result, when someone looks for a new opportunity, they expect it to bring with it other opportunities. However, improving in a career does not automatically imply moving higher. A lateral or sideways professional change is sometimes required for advancement. But while make a sideways career move you should analyze the pros and cons to make the appropriate decision.


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