Career Corner Oct. 31

Industry Matters Newsletter

Under what circumstances are lateral career moves smart?

Norton Peet, ACS Career Consultant

Lateral career moves are smart when they (1) allow you to move away from a smothering boss or colleagues who are not team players, not supportive or are deceitful; (2) set you up for a future career move that is in your overall career plan; (3) allow you to stay in or move to a geographic location that is desirable, for family or other reasons; or (4) when the lateral move will allow you to secure experience and training in an area where you are interested or where you actually need training to better do your job.

Andrea Alexander, Technical Service & Development Manager, Shin Etsu Silicones of America

If you feel yourself stagnating and are no longer growing professionally, a lateral career move may be the perfect solution. You are able to broaden your expertise, and become more of an asset for your company as you continue to add value. Lateral moves are also beneficial not only for learning/broadening a skill set, but also if this new role offers more future opportunities for growth and/or visibility, which could lead to promotions.

Natalie LaFranzo, Vice President - Market Development, Cofactor Genomics

A lateral career move to a new company with more potential for growth and advancement is always a good idea. In this situation you’ll also be exposed to colleagues to grow your network, and new processes/procedures to add to your knowledgeable. Alternatively, an internal lateral move where new skills or technical knowledge can be gained is smart, too. Finally, a lateral move where you will be managed by a more supportive line manager or boss can help your sanity in cases of stressful work environments!


ACS Career Consultants are experts and leaders working in the field of chemistry who have volunteered to support other ACS members’ career development through one-on-one career counselling. They can stimulate your thinking, ask important career planning questions to help clarify goals, provide encouragement, teach strategies for making meaningful career decisions, and aid you in your job search. Connect with an ACS Career Consultant today!