Lateral Moves Not for Everyone


Enjoy routine? Like doing things the usual way? Uncomfortable with change? Then a lateral move might not be up your alley.

Halifax’s Dana Marcon, who has thirteen years of experience as a life coach, warns that people who like routine and are regulated in the way they do things are not well suited to the learning curve that comes with a transfer, which often involves new skills, policies, routines and workplace culture. They work better with a vertical career path where each new position builds on the knowledge base of the previous role.

Since lateral moves are better suited to people who are flexible and stimulated by change, Marcon suggests undertaking an honest evaluation of your strengths to determine whether a lateral move is right for you.

Factors to consider

Dianne Quinton, a certified co-active coach and owner of The Optimal You in Calgary, advises people to reflect on the following when considering a lateral move:

  • What am I hoping to achieve with this move?
  • What skills and competencies will I have the chance to develop?
  • How will this move serve my greater career aspirations?
  • What will I have to give up making this move? How prepared am I to do this?


The more you research the position, the easier it will be to answer these questions. It may help to find a mentor such as a manager or supervisor who has a more global view of the organization.