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The company I am working for consists of several smaller departments. My current position in department A is on a 2 years temporary contract. I have started working here this year in May. I like the job but I feel like I am not challenged enough with the tasks. Now I recently had the chance to talk to the boss of department B where he basically said he would hire me once the company has released the final job application search form. This will probably be done in the next three months. The work, department B deals with, is much more catering to my interests and future job perspective.

Now I am in a pinch. On the one hand since this is one company and everybody knows each other I feel like there will be gossipping or bad blood. Also I feel like it is unethical. On the other hand I could lose a big opportunity.

FYI: This is also my first job and I am fresh out of university.

Does anyone have experience with this problem or give me insight based on his/her thoughts?

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I don't see a problem here.

You're fresh out of university and are probably over-thinking the matter. If you're a better fit for Department B, then it is in everyone's best interest to transfer you there.

You might want to share your concerns with Boss B and see he says. My guess is that he'll say "don't worry about it".

  • Agreed. I doubt anyone expects undying loyalty to a position that is, by definition, not important enough to be permanent. Most employers expect that someone will leave if they get a better opportunity, internally or externally. If they expect more, they'd come up with greater assurances on their side. – PoloHoleSet Oct 18 '17 at 15:23
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If the dept. B manager is indicating it will possibly be another three months before the job in that department goes "live" then you'll have been with dept. A for ~9 months at that point which is a long enough stint that dept A wil probably have gotten some value out of you to repay their "investment" in terms of training you up etc.

Since it's an internal transfer in a smallish company I imagine they will be allowing for quite a large amount of flex in the transition which will soften any "blow" to the operations of dept A. Also it's not the same as if you were leaving the company - if you transfer and then 2 months later someone in dept A needs to ask you a question about something they can just pick up the phone.

Internal transfers between departments are pretty routine in general, and there is nothing unethical about it so it's unlikely to make any real waves. If you're really worried that your manager in dept. A will think badly of you for transferring (which they probably won't) then you can always talk to them first and say that you might be applying to move to dept B. and if they react badly you can scrub the idea. I wouldn't though, denying yourself a "big opportunity" to preserve good feeling in a temporary role doesn't sound like a worthwhile trade off to me.

Honestly though I expect that unless your manager in dept A is an arse they will probably just be pleased for you and the world will keep spinning. And if they are difficult about it, you probably didn't want to work for them anyway.

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In my experience, changing departments is nothing unethical and happens all the time, so unless the departments are very competitive by virtue of company structure, I wouldn't worry about that too much.

I've actually seen two ways to go about this:

  1. (I've done this before myself) You just have a conversation with the other department lead and then talk to your own and get everyone to agree to move you over. This may involve creating a new contract, or if still somewhat in scope with your current one, maybe no paperwork at all. I've mostly seen this happen in smaller companies/start-ups.

  2. (My mother did this several times at her company) In bigger/more bureaucratized companies companies the process might be that the other department head has to formally request help, or you specifically, and then your department lead must agree to a sort-of lending of personnel. You'd get to work on new topics in the other department but would still technically be listed within the old one. It requires more paperwork, usually and you must be aware that politics might be involved there, but if the other department lead really wants you to join, they will know how to make this happen.

I suggest you ask somebody that you trust that has been an employee there for a longer time, how to go about this kind of switch. They can probably tell you in confidence, if you're still worried.

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I don't see any reason to be upset.

I was in a similar position like yours two years ago. When I got my first job I went to work at one department. After a couple of months they transferred me into another department, which I happened to like it more because the work I did developed my career profile way better. After 6 months they transferred me back to my old department - I did not like it. While having lunch with colleagues from the 'better' department I realized that they wanted me back, but the former department did not want to let me stay there because they needed me.

After a few months I left the company, but on my exit interview my boss told me: "Why are you leaving, why you did not tell me you want go back to the other department?"

I knew there wouldn't be much effect asking her directly because my colleagues had internal info, from their boss, that she insisted to keep me.

So, my advice is to try and ask the other department boss/manager to make the transfer request. If she is able to do it then you are fine, otherwise you decide whether is worth asking yourself or considering even changing the company.

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