The idea of climbing the corporate ladder can be something of a fallacy. It implies first of all that the climb to the top is linear, when in fact it often looks a lot more similar to the hokey-pokey. Secondly, it implies that you reach the top one rung at a time. In truth, your career will often take several leaps forward before sometimes taking several moves to the left or right before moving forward again. In truth, lateral moves can sometimes be power moves and one of the best things you can do for your career. Here are three reasons lateral moves can be power moves.

 

  1. They can round out skills you might need to move forward

 

In some cases, your career may be stalled because you need experience you can’t get in your current position. Sometimes, a lateral move forces you to tap into or learn an entirely new skill set, which completes the tools that you need to move into a higher position.

 

  1. They give you more options

 

In many positions, there is only one position to move forward into or at best only a few positions. By moving laterally, however, you also open up a wider range of opportunities for advancement. In addition, you will gain a wider range of tools, skills and experience that can make you suitable for a broader range of responsibilities. The broader your experience base, the more opportunities you create for yourself to move into a wider range of positions. This can also help you further down the road as well. If you move into a position that eventually needs to be eliminated but it is all you are qualified for, you may find yourself being downsized. If you have the ability to work in a number of areas, however, you may find yourself simply being moved rather than downsized.

 

  1. They can help you find a better fit

 

If the only thing you had ever eaten was fish sticks in the school cafeteria, you might think you liked fish just fine, until you tried fresh beer-battered cod straight from the ocean. You may enjoy your job, but that doesn’t mean it is the best fit. Moving around a bit at the same company is not always a bad idea. You are still showing loyalty and gaining equity in the company while still expanding your personal horizons.

 

No one has the same career journey, and lateral moves may be beneficial for your specific job. Don’t allow others to determine how you advance in your career, pick the best path for you and watch how you evolve in your industry.