Job Hops or lateral movements?

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June 30th, 2010 Lipi Mohapatra

Originally interested in a finance job, but struck in marketing profile! This may be the situation of many of those trying to get their foot in the door. There’s nothing wrong or right about a situation like this. Unless, as a young executive you fail to pick up the right kind of learning from any job.

As the rookies gradually gain experience from their first job, they learn more about their professional self than anything. It’s like a litmus test for all their strengths they vouched for during their interview process.

Though blessed are those who know what they want, for the rest who are standing at crossroads, their first jobs could be pretty much revealing.

I have noticed a lot many students unable to hold their first jobs for more than 3 months. The reason for each is different yet similar.

Thus I couldn’t help but ask my friend Satyendra K. Mallik, VP (HR & Planning), Infinity advertising Services pvt. Ltd, who is an advocate of Internal Job Postings (IJPs) for his take on fresher’s job hopping habits, lateral shifts and its vicissitudes.

Mallik declares its not experience which makes a person fit for a job.

True. As a beginner, it’s your involvement, your keenness, adaptability, ready to learn attitude and most of all, ones willingness to come out of the comfort zone that makes a person appropriate for any job.

Finding your field of interest can be a daunting task. And recruiters insist that one should be clear about the path right from the period of traineeship. Else, frequent job hunting reflects badly on the CV of a new professional as the person gets dubbed as someone who is not sure of what s/he wants.

Probably, the freshers may assume that they have the luxury of exploring, though a little reality check reveals that 80% of people land up in a job by chance and start finding that interesting and 20% land up by choice. Hence, the best way to inch closer to one’s interest would be via lateral movement through IJPs, job enrichment and turn key projects.

In fact, Mallik suggests that the best time for lateral movements are during the period of traineeship – here one gets oriented to different domains and tends to perform the best when it aligns with your area of interest. That’s when you really like doing a job.

However, at mid level managerial position – after establishing oneself as a domain expert and team manager, one can explore other domains, which are closer to the erstwhile domain.

While at senior level having varied experiences would be a big plus, but at junior level, it gives a sense that the person is indecisive.

There are obvious drawbacks to being in an experimental mode like this. Then, should it not be the HR’s responsibility to help the fresh executive to find his interest area? Mallik suggests that it is the responsibility of all three – the HR, line manager, and the individual himself.

The first job for a fresher should be a platform to plug career gaps, understand his expectations, capabilities and explore ahead for a lateral move.

The readers of this blog are encouraged to share their experiences and help the rookies in their search for that perfect haven and stop prevent career accidents.

The author is Director, IILM - Business School, Mathura Road, New Delhi.

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4 Responses to “Job Hops or lateral movements?”

  1. Vivek Says:

    Hi ,

    I am an Engineer and MBA ( Finance ) for 10 years now. Since Finance was not well-paying job , I moved to I.T ,but I still very much would want to go back to Finance , as that was my specialization at MBA ( all things else remaining the same .

    Also , I believe there needs to be a service at graduation or post-graduation level to gauge one’s interest , so that he/she can pursue career in his / her chosen interest field.

  2. dhiren Says:

    very true one !when i did my bsc from one of the reputed college and i had a good academic carrier of 80% overall,i didn’t aspect a job though i have good profile but i got one of largest mnc in India. i wanted to do MBA then but it didn’t happen as i was looking for some work exp. it was mixed response from the job but had a good package.When i completed my training period it was not like training since last 1 yr. but a responsible job for a year in any mnc. it was almost impossible to manage with that job. as package increased day by day its feeling like growing but still today after 3 yrs i m looking for a job which is from my choice that is hum. resource dept. Still i m working in a technical dept. looking for hr but its almost impossible to change my dept. now i m in confusion whether i did the good thing that when i was in situation of bsc with good marks looked for a initial job suitable to my profile and later after knowing little bit about corporate want to switch my carrier to my choice.

  3. Ashish Says:

    Hello. .i like this blog,as m working in a private company as marketing fresher,and i m not comfortable here,bcause i want to work in media and ad world, and currently working in a agriculture indtr. what to do i dont me

  4. ravi Says:

    great article, very relevant……..I did engg and then MBA and joined a reputed company as a trainee(commodities trader), coming from technical background i cudnt understand much in the field of agri commodities……it took me 1.5 yr to understand the business model, and continued the work for another 6 months during which i fell in love with the job……..I changed the job 7 months back(for a good rise) but could not get the same domain because the superiors sighted my lack of experience…….now i m stuck in a profile which i dont enjoy much, at the same time not much scope of returning to trading domain……..the dilemma is if i leave the current organisation, i wont be able to justify my reason for change……beause sm1 wud say that first i wanted money and then i wanted profile……so basically i m not clear abt what i want………


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