Capitalize when you get the opportunity because you never know when you’ll get another chance. Throughout my career I’ve been provided with many opportunities. Some opportunities are bigger than others, but it doesn’t mean the smaller opportunities are less important to my overall success. So many of the smaller opportunities lead you to the bigger opportunities.
In my career, I have taken several lateral moves and this can be a difficult decision. A lateral move means ‘no promotion’ and typically no more money. A lateral move does not mean less work and can be actually be more challenging. In my experience, lateral moves meant learning new skills, new processes, meeting new co-workers, and proving myself to an all new set of people once again. So without a promotion, why would someone opt for a lateral move?
A lateral move will broaden your skillset and provide you more exposure to a wider range of people. If you are anything like me, I want to continuously improve and grow. Growth is extremely important for me in every aspect of life. I fear being left behind and want to advance whenever I can. I have been told as you move up your career, you can relate it to a pyramid. The broader base is the beginning of your career where you can easily move across cross-functional teams gaining experience in multiple areas. As you progress towards higher levels, you may become more focused and less likely to move to different functions of your organizations.
I am currently in a role outside my original area of expertise. As a biochemistry major in college, you’d think I’d be working in a biochemistry or chemistry field. I currently work in supply chain, which is not what I studied. I did work for three years as a chemist in a pharmaceutical startup after college. I went to maintenance, then packaging as an engineer, and then supply chain. It has been many years in the making and I still have a ways to go. A long the way I gained my masters degree in packaging and gained much experience in various fields.
My best advice at this time for the younger generations is not to limit yourself to what you are willing to take on. If you receive an reputable offer in a role you are not to familiar with, don’t immediately turn it down. This role could lead you to many great opportunities that you could have never even dreamed about. I am still working on getting to where I want to be, but am enjoying the journey as I travel there. I also know how to manage expectations because so much does not have overnight. We all want everything now and in reality, that rarely happens.
Keep on pushing and never give up!