The Myth of the 'Side Step'​

The Myth of the 'Side Step'​

28 Feb 09:00 by Alan Jarque


Everybody has heard of the term ‘side step’, yet we rarely view it as a positive term. Nobody wants to take a side step in their career, but why?

Why all the negativity around a side-step? What even is a side step? Why does it have such negative connotations?

As a broad generalisation, a side step is viewed as leaving your current role for a similar role at a similar level in the same situation you’re in at the moment. We don’t view it as a progression and who doesn’t want to progress within their career? I certainly do.

Take the term in its most literal sense, in what situation could you take a side step?

Imagine your career is a path. You’re walking on that path, heading for your destination and you reach a wall. What should you do? Try and break through the wall? Absolutely. Try and climb over the wall? Certainly. Go under the wall? Sure. Everybody is faced with obstacles at some point in their career. Overcoming these defines us, both professionally and personally. If you have tried everything in your power, then what?

So, should you take a side step? If you have exhausted all other options, isn’t the most progressive thing you can do take that step to the side and carry on along your chosen path?

Moving away from the path analogy. Companies now strive to make themselves stand out, no two companies are the same. Look at the positives; you will be stepping into a new environment, be surrounded by new people, working under a new boss.

The positives of this are endless. Under a new boss, you may develop quicker, around new colleagues you will push yourself in different ways, a new environment may well even re-ignite your love for your job, again helping you reach the next level in your career. I am not going to list each and every outcome and benefit of a side step in your career, if your imagination hasn’t kicked in by now, I am probably barking up the wrong tree.

There is a famous saying, ‘take one step backwards to take two forwards’.

I’d say, ‘take one step to the side to enable endless steps forwards’.