Am I ready to take on a ‘stretch’ role?

NINE TO FIVE, Special to The Globe and Mail – Published


My company has offered me a new position, what I’d call a bit of a “stretch” role. It’s somewhat similar to what I do now but in an entirely different area of the company where, while I have some expertise, I will have to get up to speed quickly on topics in which I’m not an expert. I’ll be second-in-command to the manager. In my current role I mainly manage myself and am familiar with the issues I deal with. I also have some flexibility with my hours, which helps as I’ve got a young family. How can I determine if I’m ready for this kind of move and responsibility? I’d hate to take the job and flop, but I know turning it down will hurt my image at the company. How can I prepare myself?


Promotions recognize hard work and indicate trust. It’s time to do a self assessment. Make a list of pros and cons, likes and dislikes, can’s and can’t do’s. Reflect on how taking the job would make you feel, and how not accepting it would make you feel.

Do you aspire to climb the corporate ladder or are you content at the level and pay scale you are at now? Do you like to learn, do you have the time and dedication to give your all to this new area?

Ask yourself: How long do you think you would be content staying where you are? You don’t want to get comfortably complacent. It just might be time to make the move before you suffer from boredom. Staying in one position for an extended period could limit your advancement aspirations down the road and send a negative message to a future employer. However, if you love what you do and are still learning, you might not need to change.

You must get a few more questions answered before you decide. If you are going to be taking on a management role, ask to take courses or a certification program, read books and get a workplace coach. Maybe there is a mentor available to help you get up to speed and who will have your back.

If your intuition has served you well in the past, call on it now, add some reality and then decide.

Colleen Clarke, Corporate trainer and career specialist, Toronto

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