Raz lost his job when his company closed two months ago. Now he has two offers on the table. One is a management position, which would be a promotion; the other is a lateral move. Should Raz accept the promotion? Not necessarily.
During a job search, it is critical to have confidence in your abilities. Tying your importance to a title, however, may lead you to miss out on a better opportunity. A Manager, VP or Director title sounds powerful, but remember, there is more to a job than its title. Consider money, responsibility, location, future opportunity and, in this economy, industry. Comparing all aspects of each position will ensure that the job you accept is the best one for you.
Compensation is a package. It includes wages, but also benefits, potential bonuses and even stock options if they are being offered. Add up the value of all these pieces to determine your total compensation for each position.
Responsibility is an important point to consider. What are you going to be doing on the job? Will you have direct reports? Will you be challenged? Do you feel ready to take on the duties you’re being asked to perform? Raz feels he is ready to manage people, but he has no experience in this area. He should find out what training and support systems are available to guarantee he will be successful.
Location is a simple but important criteria. How far is the commute? And if it snows, how long will that drive become? Is travel involved? Is parking paid or will that be an added expense?
Opportunity is probably the most important consideration. Look ahead two, five, 10 years. Where will this opportunity take you? For Raz, taking a management position in a huge company means he will have a great title, but he will be one of many managers, just a number. He will likely be in the same position for a long time. A lateral move is a better choice if it offers education, a wider range of experiences or a new skill set. If the lateral move is within a small to midsize, growing company, Raz might find more opportunities to have an impact on the growth and direction of the company, even as a non-manager. Take a broad view of the opportunities available at each company.
Many job-seekers find their skills transfer easily from one industry to another. Use this to your advantage, and choose to be part of an industry that has a positive long-term outlook. These days, choosing a company that manufacturers hospital supplies or laptop computers might be wiser than going with one that manufactures cars, for example. Do your homework and find out whether the industry you are considering is still going to be around in five or 10 years.
Title is a minor and sometimes arbitrary part of position. Keep your career moving forward by looking at everything a job has to offer.