When to consider a lateral move

March 30, 2010 at 2:52 am Leave a comment

An email correspondent recently wrote saying that though she has avoided several rounds of layoffs at her journalism organization, she feels stuck. She wasn’t given the promotion or accompanying raise she had expected — she didn’t get the job because she doesn’t have supervisory experience. She’s working longer hours than ever and is increasingly frustrated. Though she doesn’t relish the prospect of a job search, her boss said the only way she’s likely to move up there is to move over — take a lateral position where she could get some experience managing a few people. She wonders: Should she do it, without a raise or a promise of a promotion later?

This is a question many professionals have these days — those who like my email pal feel stuck in their current jobs and those who are job hunting and wonder if they should aim for a similar job to one they had but with different responsibilities so they can vary their experience and skills. Most experts are favorable about lateral moves, especially for those who are job hunting and can afford to take a bit of a gamble (they don’t have as much to lose!) but they say you should ask yourself the following career-oriented questions before deciding to make such a  move:

*Will this position fill in some experience I’m lacking that could help me move forward more quickly in the future? The key reason to make a lateral move — or even to move down a rung on the career ladder — is to fill in gaps in your resume. For my email correspondent, this career shift would allow her to gain some supervisory experience, even though it involves just a few people, that could help her nail that promotion next time. For others, such a move could provide experience covering an in-demand specialty beat (health care, financial services or energy would all be sensible beat moves for reporters these days), skills like Congressional or agency coverage, or digital expertise. But make sure that in making such a move, you’re filling in your resume with meaningful experience.

*Is what I’m doing now being phased out (or downplayed) at my company? And if I switch beats or positions will I be in a better position to survive job cuts, or at least end up in a part of the company where I’m more secure? If you’re worried about your job, thinking about making a lateral move is smart. Look at where the buzz is (revenue-wise but also strategically) in the company and see if you’re in that area. If not and another position is opening in a hotter spot than yours, you should think about moving there even without a promotion or a raise. You may save your job and also put yourself in a better position to move ahead in the future.

*(For those who are still employed but stuck): Is staying in this job much longer going to impair my health, well-being or future career prospects? In cases like this (perhaps you have a big personality conflict with your boss, or several positions have been consolidated into one so that you have more work than you can shoulder), it may even make sense to consider a position a step or two below yours on the job ladder. It’s better to recharge and do a job effectively, even if it’s not as key a position as the one you now hold, and then prime yourself for better opportunities in the future. Ask yourself this as well: If this keeps up, might I end up quitting without another opportunity? If the answer is yes, think about asking to make a lateral move. Often, your organization will support you and in some cases — even if it’s a less “responsible” position — you may not have to take a pay cut.

*For those who are unemployed and considering positions that may seem “less” than what they had previously — both in terms of responsibility and pay — (see Dec. 1 post, “When to consider taking a pay cut”): Will I be more fulfilled if I take this position? Hiring experts say that those who have been laid off and especially those who have taken buyouts (as they often have higher expectations) sometimes hurt their job prospects by being inflexible about the types of jobs they will consider. Partly out of pride, job hunters may refuse to consider positions that don’t sound as important as what they did previously (and aren’t with organizations they deem to be as important as where they came from). That can be a trap. Look at what you’ll be doing in the job and don’t make pay too important of a consideration in your search. That may free you up to find a job you would actually enjoy — and even if it’s a lateral move, it may put you in a position to grab that next great opportunity in the near future!

*Good news of another job search ended well — Frank Bass, who was laid off in November after 12 years with the Associated Press, on April 26 will join  Bloomberg News as a Washington-based enterprise reporter. Congratulations to Frank, and it’s great to see some evidence that enterprise and investigative journalism live on!

*And here are some job leads to peruse and pursue:

*With a hat tip (for the next several items) to mediabistro.com, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington in Rockville is looking for an interactive designer/Webmaster:

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
Industry Marketing, Non-profit
Benefits 401K/403B, Health
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Rockville, MD USA
Job Requirements Create, enhance, update and develop all aspects of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington website and microsites.
Create and manage the distribution of e-blasts, briefings and e-newsletters on both the Fed Web system and Cvent (our event planning software)
Work with an outside vendor to produce a new community calendar product that will sit on our website and be managed by us.
Manage outside web consultants on projects when the workload is too great and needs to be farmed out.
Work with Marketing Account Management staff to integrate e-marketing into marketing plans for various departments.
Develop public relations, marketing and advertising materials for electronic formats.
Remain abreast of technological advances in the field and identify ways in which the organization can better use the web to support its marketing efforts
Regularly report out site analytics to determine on-going site strengths and weaknesses.

Minimum of 3-4 years of work experience
Experience using online CMS platforms
Working knowledge of HTML
Working knowledge of CSS
Experience using an email marketing tool. For example, Constant Contact, Emma, Lyris, Vertical Response, etc.
Experience with or willing to learn Google Adwords
Experience with Google Analytics and proven record of reporting actionable site metrics
Knowledge of organic search engine optimization techniques
Design sensibilities
Familiarity with navigation and usability concepts
Familiarity with basic Photoshop
Thorough understanding of creative and production processes for the web
Exceptional organization and communications skills (both written and oral) with proficiency in English grammar and usage
Ability to work on a variety of projects simultaneously
Project management experience
Experience facilitating and managing e-communications & e-philanthropy campaigns
A Plus – Experience with and commitment to the Jewish community, with a working knowledge of Jewish holidays, traditions and current events

About Our Company The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is a non-profit philanthropic organization dedicated to creating a vibrant and purposeful Jewish community. Federation cares for those in need, deepens engagement in Jewish life, and strengthens the bonds among Jews in the Washington area, in Israel, and around the world. Our primary functions are community planning and allocations, financial resource development, leadership development and community building.

Our marketing department supports these efforts by developing compelling communications aimed at a wide variety of audiences. The department fosters a creative environment that is collaborative in its approach. A team-player with a can do attitude, the Interactive Designer/Webmaster must have a proven track record of developing and implementing effective marketing on the web.

*Here’s one for history buffs — the Office of the Historian in the State Department in D.C. has an opening for a general editor:

Title: General Editor
Description: The Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State, invites all qualified applicants to apply for the position of General Editor of the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary record of the history of U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic activity.
The General Editor directs the scope, research, planning, selection, editing, and release of the Foreign Relations of the United States series. The series consists of approximately 30 or more volumes for each presidential administration. The General Editor is required to deal at any given time with 25 to 35 Foreign Relations volumes at various stages of completion, usually from 2 or 3 presidential administrations.

This is a Civil Service appointment. To apply, please refer to the job listing on USAJobs.gov:
For inquiries concerning the position or application process, please contact: David Geyer, (202) 663-1135 (GeyerDC@state.gov) or Susan Weetman, (202) 663-1276 (WeetmanSC@state.gov).
This position involves the handling of classified information and requires a security clearance. U.S. citizens only may apply. The Department of State is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, age, political affiliation, union or non-union affiliation, sexual orientation, disability, or any other non-merit factors.

Requirements: listed in USAJobs.gov announcement as noted in description
Location: Department of State Washington DC 20520
How To Apply For This Job: Listed in USAJobs.gov announcement as noted in description
Date Posted: 03/26/2010

*The Paralyzed Veterans of America in D.C. has an opening for an associate director of media relations:

Publication or Company Paralyzed Veterans of America
Industry Non-profit
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements A national non-profit organization specializing in veterans issues and disability rights is seeking highly motivated publicist/media relations professional to work in our Washington, DC headquarters. Primary responsibilities include: managing all media relations (i.e., story development, pitching, placement and crisis communications), building internal and external relationships with media, stakeholders and target audiences, and creating/maintaining communication tools (i.e., press releases, pitch scripts, opinion pieces, speeches, talking points, distribution lists).

The incumbent must have 3 years experience as a publicist. An undergraduate degree in communications or a related field is required. The selected candidate will be a highly organized strategic and creative thinker with outstanding pitching, writing, editorial and interpersonal skills. Must have demonstrated track record in delivering results. Some travel is required. Salary range is 58K-73K plus benefits.

Qualified candidates should send a cover letter with salary requirements, two writing samples, and resume to: careers@pva.org or FAX: (202) 416-7633. Closing date for resumes: April 9, 2010. EOE

About Our Company To learn more about our organization, please visit http://www.pva.org.

*Here’s an interesting free-lance lead — courtesy of poynter.org — Suite101.com  is looking for writers:

About Suite101 Suite101.com Media Inc. operates online magazines in English, German, French and Spanish that reach over 27 million readers each month. For freelance writers and journalists, our sites provide a new outlet for their work while delivering an audience of millions each month. For curious readers, these sites offer authoritative articles, reviews, and expert commentary written by professional writers. View all our jobs

Job Description

Suite101.com is a Quantcast Top 100 website and well-established online magazine, that publishes the work of over 8,000 writers to over 24 million monthly readers.

In response to reader demand, Suite101 is currently recruiting freelance writers from all different levels of their career to write authoritative and prolific articles.


  • A minimum of 10x 400-600 word fact-based articles every 3 months
  • Self guided use of training materials
  • Commitment to following editorial guidelines


  • Excellent writing and grammatical skills
  • High level of self-motivation and fastidious attention to detail
  • Ability to accept and respond to Editor feedback
  • Experience writing for the web considered an asset, though not required
  • Familiarity with social networks and online marketing is beneficial, though not required


  • Freedom to write about what you want, when you want
  • Lifetime royalties with added bonuses and incentives
  • One-on-one editorial feedback and support
  • Exposure to over 24 million monthly readers
  • Free, comprehensive training on writing for the web
  • Access to a vibrant online writing community and forum
NOTES: Telecommuting is allowed. International Candidates Will Be Considered.
Additional Salary Information: Lifetime royalties plus bonuses and incentives

*Last but not least today, applications are being taken for fellowships for the International Reporting Project, which is based in D.C. at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. But hurry, the deadline for applications is April 1:

About International Reporting Project The International Reporting Project (IRP) provides opportunities to U.S. journalists to go overseas to do international reporting on critical issues that are under covered in the U.S. news media. The program was created in 1998, making it a pioneer in the “non-profit journalism” movement that seeks to fill the gap left by much of the mainstream media’s reduction of international news. The IRP has provided opportunities to more than 300 U.S. journalists to travel to more than 85 countries to prod….more info

Job Description

The International Reporting Project is offering up to 10 IRP Fellowships to U.S. journalists to carry out a project reporting from any country in the world outside of the United States. TO APPLY: www.internationalreportingproject.org/about/fellowships IRP Fellows are awarded a full stipend for nine weeks, including an initial two weeks in Washington, where the IRP program is based at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), followed by five weeks reporting overseas, and then a final two weeks in Washington. IRP Fellows’ stories will appear on the IRP web site, and will also be published or broadcast by whichever publication the IRP Fellow is working with. The IRP will assist freelancers in marketing their stories. Journalists from all media are eligible, and multimedia projects are encouraged. As part of its 2010 program, the IRP will offer one “IRP/Stanley Foundation Fellowship” that will run concurrently with the other Fellowships. This award will be made to a U.S. journalist whose proposed international reporting project will focus on the challenge of securing vulnerable nuclear material worldwide. Applicants for the IRP/Stanley Foundation Fellowship should propose a compelling international story that would focus on such topics as exploring the scope of unsecured nuclear material, how this material is handled in a particular country or the inherent difficulties, potential solutions or likelihood of securing this material. The deadline for all fellowship applications is April 1. All applicants must complete an online IRP application form, which includes an essay of up to 800 words describing the proposed overseas project. A recommendation letter and work samples are also required.

NOTES: International Candidates Will Be Considered

Happy hunting!



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How to get (and keep) a recruiter’s attention How long must you stay in a job these days?

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