Career Development

Career Advancement Tips: Want To Move Vertical or Horizontal in Your Career?

Before writing this article, I have asked 25 people around me that what advancing in career means to you. Everyone replied to me almost the same thing that advancing means reaching the top of your career in the shortest possible time. If you also think the same you, then this article is going to change your view forever.

What are ‘Vertical Movements’?

A vertical movement in career is the most common term to understand any hierarchy of a workplace system. Suppose – a web developer has started his career as a junior engineer with a software company.His ultimate goal will be to reach the top of his department. If the topmost position is named as ‘Chief Technical Officer’, then after starting the career, the junior engineer will want to achieve the title of ‘Chief Technical Officer’ in the shortest possible time both as in the designation and in responsibility. The same hierarchical system is also applicable for other work sectors and departments as well.

So What’s The Problem in Vertical Movement!

Well, the vertical movement in career is the most conventional process followed everywhere in the world, but it has been found that keeping a person in the same track years after years may not add significant values in his/her career as expected. So what are the problems with vertical movements?

  • Same work years after years may turn out extremely monotonous in career.
  • Makes a gainer or winner rather than a learner.
  • Limited scopes to explore creativity in similar or other fields.
  • Sometimes even a promotion cannot bring variety in the work or responsibilities.
  • May cause decrease in overall performance.

It has been observed that, sticking to the same track for years after years can significantly deteriorate the performance of a good worker. This can be overcome by following horizontal movements.

Horizontal Movement in Career

Going horizontal in career means, you will not stick to your own expertise for a long time to climb up the paradigm of career. Rather, you will move side by side, working in different departments with similar responsibilities or status. This is completely opposite of vertical movement. Because in vertical movement, you have the chance to avail more responsibilities and facilities with promotion. In horizontal movement, it’s more like a transfer than promotion.

Here goes a practical example of horizontal movement – Suppose a company has an efficient sales manager with excellent sales and management skills. He/she is now transferred to the management department with similar status but with different responsibilities. Here, the company or the employer will be able to justify an employee’s ability in different fields and can bring changes in a particular department’s work flow. At the same time, the employee will be able to explore his potentials in different fields other than his expertise. So it’s a win-win for both sides. This strategy also helps them to take new challenges and give them the chance to play with new and dynamic ideas.

Go Up or Go Side!

This decision totally depends on the current condition. It may happen, some employees are not adding value as they are expected to, try to move them horizontally to get the best out of them. Here moving the same employee vertically, which is giving him a promotion, may not add value, rather it may make him/her more tensed with increased responsibilities and lead to poor performance.

Again, frequently moving horizontally is also not good for a person’s career. If you want to learn new things, switch horizontally to explore potentials. But before getting into deep, switching frequently will not add value to the career.

So both of the movements are equally important in career. Only aiming to reach to the top of the paradigm is not enough. It does not make a person learner, rather keeps him as a gainer.On the contrary, horizontal movement will let a person explore his skills and creativity in different fields.

So it will depend on you in which movement you will be able to bring the best out of your career.

Besides, every company should have policies to shift and move employees in horizontal stairs as well as vertical stairs. Big companies like – Ford, Motorola and Xerox have applied the horizontal technique with greater success.

Learn more about these 2 techniques from the book, The Horizontal Organization: What the Organization of the Future Actually Looks Like and How it Delivers Value to Customers.

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