Howard is regional director at Michael Page Hong Kong and oversees a number of disciplines including sales, marketing, digital, procurement & supply chain, retail & sourcing, finance, and HR.
Top 5 with good pay or start over as a trainee?
Dear Career Doctor,
I was in a sales role with quite a few different companies and even different industry for around 10 years. Although I never enjoyed my role as a sales, I managed to end up as a senior sales.
Not long ago, I got an opportunity to change field as I got a job offer in operations as a trainee with a very reputable local corporation. The offer is rewarding in terms of job satisfaction and career advancement, and I believe I am more suitable in this field. More importantly, after 2 years of training I will be assigned to a senior supervisor role.
The dilemma comes in when a job agent approached me recently with another opportunity as a senior sales role in one of the top 5 companies in Fortune Global 500. The package is very attractive that I think it will take at least 3-4 years for my role in operations to catch up. And I think it is once in a life time that I could work for a company this big. However, leadership skill and career path should be something I can't acquire and see in this sales role.
Hope you could shed some light on the situation.
Dear Dream Chaser, First of all congratulations on your offer! In consideration of your situation, it is important to first assess your priorities in your career and what matters to you most. My suggestion would be to sit down and think carefully or list down the push and pull factors. It seems that there is no real push factor at play here from your current role and the real destabilising factors are more pull which come in the form of the monetary and reputational gains from the offer. If monetary gains and brand recognition is key to this stage of your career, then I would say that your new sales role would suit your needs. However, from what you have shared, you mentioned that you previously worked in sales for 10 years and did not particularly enjoy sales, therefore, I question whether the attractive package or high profile company would be enough to cover your desire to work in an operations role where you are getting job satisfaction and career advancement opportunities. Monetary or financial compensation can only provide so much gratification. An individual who is passionate and good at their role would ultimately build themselves a successful career in their field they choose. From a career perspective, it sounds like your current position will provide a better medium-to-long term gain on your career, whilst the new sales role presented to you may offer short term gain, but may not provide the "ideal" career that you are looking for. Having already invested 2 years in an operations role, and having already tried sales before, would it make more sense to further develop your career in operations? You will probably have a good 25 more years to go in your working life. Chances are that you will have to revisit the issue of you not enjoying your role as a sales professional after a few years. The last thing you would want is to discover that you are really not suited for sales and try to exit the industry again. You might run the risk of looking jumpy and non-directional on your CV. Should there be other factors at play which could affect your decision, I suggest having a discussion with individuals whom the decision would have a direct impact on. While the final decision would lie with you and could possibly be based on other factors, my recommendation is to take a longer term view on your career. Finally, I wish you all the best in your career.