Two career paths diverged in a company, and I -
January 20, 2012 10:00 AM Subscribe
I’m seeking new opportunities at my company, and two very different departments have expressed interest. Neither department knows I’m talking to the other. Need some advice on navigating this…
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total)
(Specifics of the company have been genericized for privacy reasons.)
I work at Factory X, which has two main products: widgets and doodads. The two products are nothing alike and their departments usually don’t mix; they’re even on separate floors. I work on the widget floor and don’t know anyone in doodads.
I’ve been a widget inspector at Factory X for several years, and I’m ready to move on. The typical career path for widget inspectors is narrow and doesn’t appeal to me. However, my boss has noticed I have some aptitude for widget development. We've been talking for some time about moving me to a widget developer role, but there are no openings and no budget to add another position. That's unlikely to change anytime soon.
Discouraged by this, I started looking elsewhere. I saw an internal opening for a doodad designer position, so I submitted an application – I’ve been interested in doodads for some time, but I have only tangentially relevant experience. They’re considering me. My boss knows I’m interested in doodads, but doesn’t know I’ve applied for this opening.
Both of these jobs greatly appeal to me, and I’d be thrilled to take either. I’d prefer the widget developer position: I already know the team, I know more about widget development than doodad design, and it would be a smoother transition for myself and my current team. But I’m not sure that the widget developer position will ever materialize, and I don’t want to wait around for a nonexistent promotion, especially if it means passing up the opportunity in doodads. If I move to doodads, I doubt I’ll be able to come back to widgets.
If neither of these positions pan out - which is a definite possibility - I’m likely to leave the company within six months. However, the roles I'm being considered for would be hard for me to find outside of the company.
I’ve never been in this scenario before, and I’m not sure what to do. Was it bad form to apply for an internal position behind my current boss’s back, especially when he’s been trying to get me into a different position? When do I tell my boss? If I get the offer in doodad design, can/should/how do I use it to negotiate a widget developer position? Or should I just accept the offer and make the transition? The last thing I want to do is burn bridges.