According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, most American employees are eager to learn new skills and take on new responsiblities. But about a third doubt that they will be able to make a lateral move at their current workplace.
Sometimes, a lateral opportunity comes disguised as a job that nobody else wants. If you are serious about ‘growing in place,’ consider taking on an orphan project. Such assignments are already on the radar with higher-ups — for the wrong reasons. You’ll get points for being willing to try, and more points for gaining traction with a problem that others have resisted.
This strategy worked for Michael Mogul, president of DJO Global, a medical device company. As he said in a recent profile in the New York Times of a management responsiblity thrust upon him, “That happened often in my career: I’d find something that needed fixing, raise my hand and be given the responsibility. I’d end up with more work, but it always helped my career.”
If the benefits of jumping in aren’t immediately obvious, talk it over with your boss, and possibly with another manager whose results will be affected by the adoption. Design a plan that includes skills or networking that you want to gain for your next career steps. That’s what they call a win-win.
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