I have a mechanical engineering background and have been with the same company since I graduated college in various increasing roles within the maintenance organization in the metals industry. I am interested in making a jump to become the financial analyst within my department. The current analyst will probably be rotated out in the next 9-12 months to another department.
I have spoken to one of the Plant Controllers and he mentioned that there is a need for more analysts and there shouldn't be an issue with my background to make the jump. My intent would be to supplement the job switch with a part time MBA.
My manager and I have a solid relationship but our department also has an attrition problem and I don't know that there is someone in the pipeline within the organization to fill my role. He has continued to give me added responsibility and I am truly thankful for that but I feel my long term opportunities are limited within my current department.
How do I go about approaching my manager about this? I know for instance he is trying to keep his group intact and he seems to be biased that success within the organization lies within the technical realm which I am currently already in.
Would appreciate any feedback.
You mention that you have a solid relationship with your boss. Start having the conversation about next steps and long term goals with your boss. You don't have a time constraint, so you've got time to develop the situation before you spring this idea on him. It may take 2-3-4 conversations before the time is right.
The fact that you are concerned about the impact to the relationship is good. In this case, slow and smooth is good.
Re: switching department - agree to want different things
I don´t know if I can give you a very practical advice, but what I have found is that you need to make the decision of what you want on your own mind and be confident about it. If you approach your boss uncertain and you already know what his opinion will be, two things can happen: (1) you can get influenced by him and feel like you don´t want to disappoint him and feel frustrated you are not capable to transmitting to him what you want for you, (2) your boss feels frustrated with himself (which may or may not be transferred to you) because he failed to influence you to stay.
So what I feel is the way to approach it is to make it a very personal decision and nobody but you can know what is best for you or what you want to do. You don´t need to disagree with him that success within the organisation lies within the technical realm, you just need to express that you want to go to the financial side. And as the saying goes: "There are no arguments on taste, love and colour."
Now, if you are not sure about the decision, then it is a different story and I would encourage you to dig further into what your boss may know that you don´t know. He may not be biased, he may know something you don´t know. I have seen people thinking there are no opportunities where they are (when there are) and looking somewhere else and thinking it is full of opportunities (when it is not). Many times we just need the change, and it is fine, but it doesn´t necessarily mean there are no opportunities where we are. In other words, you don´t really need to disagree with your boss to take a different decision than he would in the same situation. You can just agree to want different things.