Is it better to stay put in a job you like, or take on something new? There’s a Sheryl Crow lyric stuck in my head – a change will do you good. True in life, true in careers.
I had the pleasure of talking with Charlie Judy over at HR Fishbowl recently and we talked about how taking on new opportunities grows your career. We spoke from experience, having moved through various HR roles in our careers including my recent change rotating back into a “business HR” leader role.
The interesting thing is, not everyone is that convinced about the value of stepping out of a perfectly good role. They commonly wonder two things – what’s in it for me, or why should I take that risk.
What’s in it for me?
Are you turning away opportunities because they don’t have an immediate payoff (i.e. more money, better title, more prestige, etc.)? You may be short-changing your future. It’s important to think of careers as a long-term path. One of the most effective approaches is to figure out what skills you want to develop and take on rolls that help you develop those skills. Don’t worry so much if it’s not a straight, classic ,up-the-ladder approach. Today’s careers are made through a series of experiences, and whether it’s up, down, or sideways, you can increase your capabilities and build your network, which ultimately opens more doors.
Why take the risk when you like what you’re doing?
I’m not saying you need to walk away from your dream job, just that that path to taking your career to the next level may be by taking on something you haven’t done before. Sure, you’re comfortable where you are – you work hard, you get good results, people know you and you’ve built a great reputation. Why start over? I’ve been there, I get it.
But if you step back and take a good look, are you really building new skills, learning new things, and working with different people? The single biggest advantage I’ve found in people changing roles is that it develops the ability to look at things from a different angle, through a new lens. In moving from a program manager role into one where you’re the customer of those programs, you bring perspective that others on the team without that experience don’t have. If you later go back to a program manager role, your experience as a customer changes your lens again, and it improves the way you create, deliver and communicate programs now that you’ve seen it from another angle.
You just can’t beat that experience.
It’s also not a bad idea in this ever-changing world to have a blend of broad and deep experience in your toolkit. It’s that breadth and depth that will position you for more opportunities in the future.
What’s your experience? Is it better to stay put or move around?
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