The idea subverts the old notion of a steady climb up the corporate ladder: Sometimes you have to go backwards in order to get ahead. Most careers no longer follow a classic vertical progression. Instead, people often move up, down, out, back and sideways in the course of their working lives.
Corporate America is much less hierarchical than it was 25 years ago. The problem is that perception has not caught up with reality. Too many workers are concerned that moving down the ladder will be perceived negatively, when, in fact, these moves can be healthy for a career. A lateral career move can be relatively easy to make. But when should you could consider taking a pay cut, or applying for a job that is lower on the organizational chart?
It all depends on your long-term goals. The tide will turn for workers who make strategic sacrifices now. A period of vast worker mobility is ahead. Once the recession is over, dissatisfied workers will be able to move to new jobs. And then, the people who have planned wisely perhaps by taking a calculated step back, will be able to step happily forward into the job they’ve always wanted.