Considering career change to a lower level position
July 10, 2019 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I have been in my current role (corporate marketing) at my company going on five years now and am ready for a change. For the past few months I have sadly realized that at my level there are no real horizontal opportunities in my current city, and don't feel like with my recent promotion that I am ready to move up another level. I could use some advice. Details below.

Here's the lowdown -
The company I'm at is struggling and with risks of reorgs, layoffs, and lack of budget to do much in my department. I'm also feeling a bit of a burn out and want a new start.
My compensation is much higher for my job title compared to others in my current city.
I don't feel like I'm quite at a director level and don't want to go from a Sr. Manager to Manager without similar pay (see above point)
Relocation isn't an option.
What is important to me - a job within my specific expertise, a company and team I would be proud of, stability, work/life balance over compensation

When passively looking for jobs, I'm only seeing a handful of opportunities at my level and expertise and had a few questions for people who may have faced this before -
What are the pros / cons of considering a lower paying / lower rank job title?
How do you talk with a recruiter or hiring manager why you'd be interested in such a change?
Am I going about the wrong way of job searching? I was utterly surprised at how small the job pool was for what I'm looking for.
Any success stories or nightmares making a change like this?

Would love some advice or insights.
posted by hillabeans to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am living the results of making this very decision just a few years ago. I have a Master's degree that traditionally leads to a very specific career (librarianship). I had been in library administration until about the last five years. During those few years, I bounced around in various jobs at the same institution after agreeing to a pay cut of about 1/3 of my previous salary. I recently left there and moved back to my home state; I'm in the process of job hunting and am running into some problems. It would be very difficult for me to get work as a librarian again (if I wanted to, which I don't) because I've been out of the field a few years and things change rapidly. I have the skills for the work I want to do (be in some kind of administrative support role) but my work history doesn't show me having experience in that area. The jobs I'm interested in are either looking for people just out of college or with several years of experience in that specific kind of job. It's frustrating. I have just begun searching, though, and haven't given up hope. Perhaps my experience will be helpful to you.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 4:14 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Oh - as for talking to recruiters, I just tell them that I have been doing this for X years and am ready for a change. That seems to be well received.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 4:15 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

You would be surprised what comes up when hou seriously look. I have two family members who just transitioned in marketing jobs, in a very small market. Your track record will sell you to someone. Market yourself. There are industries that use marketing you wouldn't think they do. Medical is one of them, large practices in a specific discipline use marketing able folks.
posted by Oyéah at 4:53 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

It’s better to look first for companies that you have an interest in. Then just look at all of the mktg positions and talk to contacts/recruiters or do informationals if no positions are listed. A Sr. Dir at one company may well have identical responsibilities to a Sr. Mgr at another. I worked in mktg for 25+ years (benched by illness atm), and job title continuity across industries and firms isn’t common. You may go up in title or down — and keep a similar salary or better. Most companies also have a degree of financial insecurity and managerial won’t find one completely free of this, sadly. But it does sound like you’ll find something better than where you are. Best of luck in your search; I hope you find something great!
posted by Kalatraz at 11:02 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

I've been in sales and marketing roles for 20 years now, and can relate to the title / compensation disconnect. At one point (when in sales) a recruiter told me that I was out-earning some 95% of the people out there doing similar things!

I can relate to market pressures on an organization, and after 5 years you can see the writing on the wall. Feelings of 'time to move on' not uncommon at all.

Marketing is definitely a transferable skill. Are you 'absolutely no way' regarding relocation? I say this only as in my own experience I moved 2000 miles (away from family, friends) some 15 years ago and it did wonders for the career. Just saying that geographic flexibility opens up many, many opportunities in 'dream roles' at 'dream organizations'.

Regarding specific expertise, if you want to stay within your particular market vertical and you cannot relocate, yes the pickings may be very slim and you may need to adjust to look at different (i.e. adjacent) market verticals, or even something different altogether.

You've put it pretty clear that you value things over compensation and title, and thus you can simply lead with that. Good luck!
posted by scooterdog at 11:44 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]

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