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Some practical tips for the successful lateral job shift

Those who have experience will always seek to jump jobs. These days this has become more of a norm than an exception. There are several reasons why this happens. Nevertheless there are certain important points that lateral recruits have to bear in mind when they jump jobs. These practical tips are sought to be described in some detail in this article.


A lateral job shift occurs when the person feels that he or she would be far better in the new job in a totally new environment. When he or she sees substantial value addition in the shift. There are some practical points to be considered. These are a) look for value addition in the first two jobs b) never jump immediately c)get ready for new challenges d)check the details of the new environment e)jump ship as married bachelor if need be and support career of life partner too.

Look for value addition in the first two jobs

It is always wise to look for value addition in the first two jobs, spanning over eight years. If your organization is able to identify your talent and rotate you in two different but inter-related areas, stay put. Otherwise jump after five years of service.

If you are from a top class IIM, chances are that you may be given some importance in terms of whatever job you do. If not, there are chances that your job description will not be very wide. Yet, you need to understand all the intricacies. For example, imagine that you are in the shop floor of a leading MNC, manufacturing cool drinks. Your entire productions schedules will be tied to the markets. When there is huge demand in summer, you will notice that the marketing guys will be on your throats. As a Mechanical Engineer your job will see enlargement if you also take on the maintenance role or alternatively help the maintenance guy in doing his job. This works to your advantage. If the Management recognizes your talent and offers you a shift to marketing, you can be sure that your career is about to take off.

You have also done the weekend Executive MBA at the end of three years. So now you know both production and marketing. Since you will understand what it takes to get the product to the ultimate customer, you will realize what goes right or wrong and then can advise your Management on what needs to be done. You have the right mix. In this case stay put for nine years.

And then jump to a big competitor. By this time you would be married and it is vital that your wife also needs a career. So you need to go to a place like Mumbai, where you can get the best of both worlds. In fact, Mumbai is the center of brilliant marketing strategies. It is the place where you learn so much and rub shoulders with the smartest people in business in the FMCG world.

So remember the first one or two jobs are for value addition. The salary is important but that is not the main consideration.

Never jump immediately

Eighteen to nineteen to nineteen hours per day, on even six days a week, is the real world business. It is harsh. It is brutal.

However after putting in so much of hard work for eighteen months, if you jump ship thinking that you can do wonders elsewhere you will be shocked to find smarter people there. It is unwise to jump before thirty six months, in any job anywhere, in any functional specialization.

Get ready for new challenges

You will have to get ready for new challenges from day one. Hence this practical tip actually goes along with the first one. You need to understand the entire industry of which your organization is a part. It may even be the best in the industry. For example a market leader like Asian Paints. However the most important point is that everything is changing.

Look for the new changes in the job profile. Harish, a Post graduate in Commerce from the Mumbai University with eighteen years of service in different BPO/small IT organizations, knew everything about routine accounting. The IT company that he was associated with went through bad times. He lost his job.

Harish was so choosy. He wanted a job within five kilometers of his residence. He would never allow his family of wife (not employed) and two children to be alone. He attended several interviews. The first ever question asked was: can you handle the entire gamut of GST? This fellow did not make any attempt to learn anything about GST. He was offered a chance with a trading organization that offered to get him through the grind and also use his expertise in accounting. He would not join since the salary was less.

Eighteen months without a job in a metro city made him so frustrated. Finally he had to join a heavy Chemical manufacturing company in a remote location in North India. Even here he was warned that he should learn GST fast.

This is one classic practical lesson. If you do not know the new challenges, the new skill-sets required, the new IT skills required, and do not acquire them, you are gone. Rest assured you may get into the same trap like Harish. He had no choice but to put back his family in the metro city and go to the remote location.

Check the details of the new environment

A bird in hand is better than two in a bush. If you do not know anything about your new environment, you will land in a mess. Check with the possible boss you will work with. Look for signals in the interview process itself. If you see some boss barking at a subordinate, if you observe that no one is even ready to answer your questions regarding the time of the interview and you are kept waiting for three hours, think again.

Even if you are offered a huge salary, the job may not be interesting. You might have a nasty boss who never develops people. Or gives you challenging assignments.

Insist that you should have a detailed chat with the boss about your role. You should know what exactly you will do. If you are given a good salary but the job itself is very much routine in nature, you are gone. You will have wasted a huge opportunity and you might even regret your decision to change your previous job. Hence, it does pay to interview existing employees, learn everything about the boss.

This is an extremely important thing. If you are complacent, you will realize your mistake later. So be very careful.

Support career of life partner too

You cannot take any decision in isolation. If your wife is a highly successful marketing professional in say, Bangalore, and you want to go to Mumbai do so. However, make it a point to spend at least one week end with her and the kids. This is possible if the kids are more than eight years old. If the kids are just five and three years old, you are in a big danger zone.

Support your wife and stay put in any job in the same city, till the children reach the age of at least eight and six. If you can shift your wife to another better job and she is also confident, no problem. However the new job may not be interesting. Every human being wants challenges. There is no point in sacrificing the career of your wife. You will land in deep trouble and marital discord will happen automatically.

Please do note that life is a journey and not a destination. You have to take your entire family along with you. If you go to a new city alone as a married bachelor and there is adequate back up support back home, no problem. For example, parents on either side. Servant maids full time. Such arrangements are a must. You need to consult your wife and give maximum importance to her views at every stage.


Lateral job shifts are eminently possible and will be successful if you carefully plan for it. Never ever jump jobs for the sake of jumping. Nothing will happen if you become a rolling stone. No one will ever respect you. However if you do your home work well and can see through the game, success will be yours.

You will have done your career all the good. And your wife would also be happy. All the very best.


Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao04 Aug 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

These days changing jobs has become very important for career growth and salary hikes. As the saying goes make hay while the Sun shines, when we have energy and age only we can struggle and we can earn. So working hard and earning more is required at this age. If we continue in the same job for long the hikes may not be very high but when you shift job there is a chance for salary hike up to 25% to 30%. But one should also keep in mind that a rolling stone gathers no moss. So we should put at least 3 to 4 years of service in an organisation before we plan for a lateral entry to another job.
A known devil is always better than an unknown ghost. We don't know how the new job will be and we should also keep in mind that we may be going to face difficulties in the new organisation. So mentally we should get prepared for the worst and make the shift. We should boldly face the consequences and come out successfully. Then you will be recognised in the new area also. So a better planning and a mindset to work hard and smart is the necessity when you plan to make a shift in the job.

Author: dipti12 Aug 2018 Member Level: Silver   Points : 4

This article is interesting as it discusses real-life scenarios to consider before making a job shift. The author gives clear opinions on when to consider a job change and for what reasons. There can be additional reasons for a change such as family problems or health issues or parental concerns to be taken care of.
Also, I appreciate the author's concern about taking the opinion of the spouse and her career requirements into consideration. It is extremely important to take into account the point of views of all concerned and then take a harmonious decision for overall happiness and well being of the family.

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