While it may be easy to focus on the professional perks of making a lateral career move, it is still necessary to dissect how such a move will affect the rest of an employee’s life.
Transitioning to a new role within a company can be challenging, especially if one neglects the largest, and perhaps most overlooked, adjustment needed — in an employee’s personal life. For example, if a lateral career change calls for relocation, drastic changes occur outside of work without a pay increase or promotion to justify them.
Whether it is a small change, such as moving from the city to the suburbs, or a much larger one, such as moving across the country, relocating can have ramifications inside the office.
“Job rotation can have a major impact on an employee’s opportunity for not just professional, but personal growth as well,” said Susan Heathfield, a management consultant and human resources expert at About.com.
Alyson Woodard, who has made six different lateral career moves in her 11-year career at AT&T Inc., said she has only had to relocate once, from Dallas to San Antonio before eventually moving back to Dallas. “Thankfully the lifestyle change wasn’t that big of deal,” she said.
Woodard said the benefit package she received from AT&T made her move nearly stress-free. “The support package that we get makes it all very seamless; it’s really amazing how little we had to do. My husband works for AT&T as well and the company was really good about making sure that his career didn’t skip a beat either.”
AT&T is aware of the issues that surround relocation, especially for women. Within the AT&T World of Women Web portal, the company provides a teaching tool that helps women balance their careers with their lives outside of work.
Tammy Martin, vice president of talent management, leadership development and strategic management at AT&T, said the company wanted to get more conversations started about these things early in employees’ careers. “When it comes to women, and men too, it becomes a big topic of conversation when you think about families and careers and everything else.”
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