It’s always a difficult decision to move back a step in position or salary, but there are situations when your longer-term career is better served if you do. Here are a few examples of circumstances that you may want to consider moving back a step in order to accelerate forward later on. Whatever your decision, think through the implications and strategy to make sure it’s the right thing to do.
- You’re in the wrong industry, function or job– It’s easier to move out of the wrong job earlier in your career than later. Hiring organizations are typically looking for someone who has already achieved the objectives they want. You may need to move over and down a half step in a new organization in order to move up to larger responsibilities later.
- Downsizing options – During a reorganization or acquisition, you may be given an opportunity to receive separation pay or be offered a different role. It’s usually easier to find another job when you have one, so think strategically, when alternatives are provided.
- The organizational “fit” is incompatible – You may have a mismatch with your boss, the management style or your core values. Those issues will affect your performance. It’s better to make the change before your results or reputation is affected. Find a compatible organization and let your results move you up the organizational ladder.
- Check out your “total compensation”, not just salary – Figure out how much your benefits are worth: All of them. Now add it to your salary. That’s your total compensation. Sometimes the larger salary and bonus is less income to you after all benefits and taxes.
- Your prospects for growth are blocked – Which alternative would you choose: A fast growth company with promotional opportunity, but initially at 10% less pay. or a company that is downsizing, but will pay you 10% more? Tough call. The question to ask is, “Where will you be in 5 years and which opportunity will help you get there quicker?”
- External factors dictate a change – Here are a few to ponder:
- Family considerations – a working spouse, children’s schooling, proximity to relatives
- Time demands/travel requirements – How important is quality and balance of life?
- You lack company sponsored training, development, education or certification for your growth
- Compatible management style is missing – What’s your comfort level?
- Is your current industry, company or function going to accelerate, stabilize or decline in the next 5 to 10 years?
Career decisions have a different formula for each of us. There are, however, three basic questions to answer:
- What is my ultimate career destination and am I in the successful track?
- How much time, effort and the number of steps needed? Do you have an overall plan?
- What are the strategy steps at each stage in order to achieve each objective?
Sounds simple, yet life tends to get in the way sometimes.
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