Changing Careers With the Same Employer
When most people think about career changes, they believe the "change" not only means having a new job but also a new employer. After all, it can't be a change of careers if you just change jobs but not your employer, right?
Career Changes Within the Same Career
If you group all job classifications under very broad categories, then to have a change in your sales career probably means that you need to get out of sales completely. But this type of thinking isn't accurate. For example, some professionals may see that a being in sales is different than being in sales management and that each is its career. Others may feel that selling IT Services is an entirely different career than selling IT education and training classes.
The truth is that careers are not defined by the job title but by the direction the career path leads you. With that definition in mind, it's easy to accept that you could have a change of career while remaining in sales and even continuing to work for your current employer.
Challenges With Changing Careers But Not Your Work Address
Let's say that you decide to change the direction of your career and move from outside sales to inside sales management for your company. Few would argue that the career change you're making isn't a big change but don't be surprised if your employer still asks you to "help out" with your old career for a while.
If you did well in your outside sales position, your leaving left a hole that could take a while to fill. Since you're still an employee of the company and didn't really "leave your job" just "changed your focus," your old manager and perhaps even senior management may ask you to do some double-duty till the hole you left is all plugged up.
This means that you won't be able to give 100% focus to your new position until you are fully out of your old career, meaning that you should expect to work even harder, smarter and longer at your new job for a while than you normally would.
Another risk that you take when changing careers but keeping the same employer is the temptation to return to your previous career before giving your new career an honest chance. The toughest parts of change are the first days, weeks, months or even years. During these challenging days, many professionals are tempted to "just go back to what they know." And since they work for the same employer, going back should be easy.
The truth is that going back doesn't work out for most. Once they are back in their old careers, they begin to remember why they wanted to leave the career in the first place. And once their mindset is back to where it was before making the initial career move, it is often too late to save a potentially good career.
If you made a career move and stayed with your employer, you need to give the new career plenty of time before deciding if the move was a good move for you or not. Trying to jump back after a few weeks when things don't go as smoothly as expected is a sign of immaturity. And very few employers want their sales force to be lead by professionals who are immature and who don't tough out the tough times.