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By: Dr. John T. Self

The Job Transfer

Your supervisor has made a big deal about meeting you. He has set up a special meeting and seems so excited about the "opportunity". He looks you right in the eye and says sincerely "this will be great for your career. We appreciate your doing this." Congratulations, you've been transferred. And there's only one problem...In all the excitement, you just accepted a lateral transfer that won't advance your career at all.

The lesson here is simple: Don't blindly accept transfers. Many of these "opportunities" will actually benefit your employer a lot more than they will benefit your career. You must examine every transfer with the viewpoint of its significance to your career goals and its impact it on your family and your life in general.

The next time your boss taps you for a transfer, get answers to these questions:

    Why will it be great for my career? Is it because:
  • it is an opening?
  • It is a new concept?
  • it is a major leap in sales?
  • Are being promoted from assistant to General Manager or from General Manager to Supervisor, etc.?
Make them tell you why it is NOT just a lateral move.

Don't just be swayed by more money, either. On most transfers, if you have to physically move from where you live, you will lose money.

After you have all the information about the "whys" of the move, tell your boss you appreciate them choosing you and you'd like a day or two to think about it. Don't be pressured into making a decision on the spot.

Always go to your significant other and see what he or she thinks before making the decision. I made a mistake when I accepted a transfer when my baby was just 3 weeks old. It placed a terrible strain on my wife and I still regret the move to this day. I should have just said no, the timing was not right.

Even if you're not married or seeing anyone, you have to evaluate how the transfer will affect your life outside work. Will you have to sell your home, or get out of a lease on your apartment? Are you ready to be away from family, friends, or other commitments such as sports teams, social clubs, etc.? Even if the transfer is just across town, or within driving distance, it can affect things like lease mileage on your car, the amount you pay in car insurance, added gas costs that you may not have budgeted for, and so on.

Many of these things can be dealt with in relation to your career goals: If the opportunity for advancement is real, don't let any of these things stop you. But remember that ALL good companies will respect your decision to turn down a transfer.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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