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Up or out? There are other choices for your career

It's that time of year... Lunar New Year has come and gone and merit increases and bonuses are being finalized and communicated. And immediately after that, people will decide to stay or go. In the past few years more and more employees - of all ages - have come to the conclusion that careers are no longer straight lines. So as you look to the horizon and try to create your path, how to navigate your career?

Assuming you are currently in a role there are several choices available to you

Up or out

Going Sideways




Interested? Read on!

1 & 2 Go up or go out!

One assumption for career planning (it's fast changing but still prevalent) is that to progress you must go "up or out" i.e. get promoted or leave the organization. And either option comes with pro's and cons...

To go up , you're either ready or you're not. Do you (and your employer) know the difference?

To head out, where are you going to to go? Who's smart? Who's not? Who's hiring? and what is the culture like? AS Joe Strummer famously asked, "should I stay or should I go?"

3 Take a sideways move

Another option available to you is to go sideways, keep your level but expand your capabilities you might go from events manager to marketing communications, sales support to customer success or Operations to HR. But the key question here is what is my long term goal and how does this move advance my progress?

4 Enrichment

What are the stretch assignments you might take on? Are there special project teams you can become a member of? The answer is likely "yes" but before you volunteer, ask yourself which of the enrichment activities help me get closer to your goal?

5 Discovery

Not sure what your goal is? Then maybe Discovery is an option for you take time to sample a variety of roles inside your organization - I know of a large pharma company whose IT group rotate their newer employees in 3-4-5 or 6 month assignments so these early career folk get a sense of the options available tot hem, and what they gravitate to and from. Should you be later in your career and looking for a pivot, try a series of contract roles that interest / intrigue you.

6 Realignment

Going backwards to get ahead might not be fashionable, but it can get you results too. I've seen product managers go into and individual sales role to get the commercial acumen to help them move up in the product development / research function that is their longer term goal. Again, what is your goal? and. where is there a role - perhaps a step back, to help you get the role you want?

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