Q: I work for a large consumer brand and six months ago, I was moved to a new department as part of a reorganization. I feel lucky to have a job, as a few people I know lost theirs, but I’m just not happy in this new department. The work doesn’t excite me as much and I’ve been dreading coming to work. How can I try to transition back to my old department, or in the very least, a different department?
It can be unsettling when a company reorganizes its structure and there are layoffs and department changes. I’ve been through a few over the years—there’s always an adjustment period as everyone settles into the new regime. However, your management team must value the work you do, otherwise you could have lost your job as well.
With this in mind, here are some points you may want to take into consideration.
Ask yourself: “What can I learn?”
There are opportunities to learn from any experience. So while I hear you may not find the work in your new department very exciting, it doesn’t mean you can’t gain handsomely from the experience. How could you make your work more exciting? Which of your gifts and talents can you bring to the new department? Maybe you could suggest a new project or a more streamlined approach to a current one. Dig deeper into understanding the operations of your new area. See a problem and suggest a solution. How can you leverage your skill set learned from your former department and bring it to the new one? There’s always a chance you could end up with a promotion out of this.
Advance your career.
If you plan on advancing your career at this company, then the more areas of the organization you know, the more valuable you’ll be to your boss and boss’s boss. In fact, many companies are in favor of their employees moving around the firm so they can build up their knowledge base. In your question, you write you didn’t choose this recent department move, but in time, it may end up being something you see as a blessing. By using this extensive knowledge about the workings of the company, you can speak with authority and use this to self-promote as you climb the career ladder.
Use this as an opportunity to expand your network.
There’s nothing better than working beside someone on a daily basis to build new and lasting relationships. Some of the best job offers or client introductions I’ve had have come from current and former colleagues recommending me for a new position or to the new client. That’s why networking sites like LinkedIn are so popular. I’ve also found this especially useful in large organizations where I’ve needed to get things done on a deadline.
Knowing how to navigate your way through the company by leveraging the goodwill you’ve built up with colleagues across the firm makes you a very valuable employee. Use this opportunity with your new job to get to know more people across your company and industry. It’s a great chance to expand your network and even make new friends.
Expand your network even more.
If you really don’t like this new department and your heart is set on transitioning to another area or your former area, then meet with the managers of each of the business units. Learn more about each department, tell them you’re interested in any openings and share your skill set with them. Don’t be shy in telling them why you would be a valuable addition to their team. (Check out my post “Ask Julie-Ann: Negotiating A Raise Above Your Typical Cost-of-Living Bump” where I advocate not being shy on self-promotion.)
Stay aware of available positions in other departments by keeping an eye on internal job boards. And continue developing your network and getting to know people across the company. I’ve found people generally like to work with those they already know and like versus someone new, if given a choice—not to mention, a lot of the good jobs never get posted on job sites. Candidates are often selected via word-of-mouth or personal introductions.