Client Question: “I don’t have a lot of opportunities to move to the next level. I want to learn new things, but I really don’t want to leave my current company. What else can I do?”
As organizations become flatter, this is an issue that many people face. Part of this is due to the way things used to be. Organizations used to have lots of levels. This meant that you moved up to learn more and have more responsibility. There are fewer positions at the top to move into now. So how can you continue to grow and develop without getting a promotion?
What if you changed the way you thought about it? What if you could tap into doing something that you loved even if it didn’t mean going up to the next level? What if you had the chance to learn a whole new area that helped give you a new perspective? I saw this article by Julie Winkle Giulioni that talked about this specific topic and how it is no longer thought of as career mobility, but opportunity mobility.
Taking on these experiences can make a big difference in your career. They can broaden your skills and capabilities to make you more well-rounded. The positive is that they don’t make you dependent on a position opening. Learning something new, working with a new team, making new connections and broadening your background are great things for your career. They will make you more marketable for a future role in your own company or to potentially move to another company someday.
I have done this many times in my former job and these experiences really stretched me the most. I was pushed way out of my comfort zone and had to adapt quickly. My leadership grew so much and It taught me lessons that I would have never learned in the areas that I already knew. I think many people don’t want to take a lateral role because they see it as a negative. At this point where there are fewer positions, you need to think about what will help you the most to grow your leadership, your skills and prepare you for a future opportunity.