A reader writes:
I lost my job 5 months ago, and was recently hired to a position at a company I love. While researching the company during the interview process, there was a department I preferred to work in, but there were no openings in that department at the time. I did however interview for a position that I know I will still enjoy. When the offer came, I took it happily even though it meant taking a $10,000 pay cut from what I was making previously.
In my preparations to start my new position, I recently was looking over my company's website and a position in the department I'd ideally like to work in is open. Not only that, it's a managerial position with greater responsibilities and the pay is back where my salary used to be before I lost my job. I wouldn't have to worry about making ends meet, which during salary negotiations was made clear to my hiring manager. In addition, most of my work experience is applicable and relevant to this new position anyway. I have about 2 years experience in the position I was hired for and about 8 years of experience in the areas the managerial position calls for.
Is there any chance I could talk to my new company about being considered for this managerial role? I don't want to seem flighty or that I just took any job to get out of the unemployment ranks. I am genuinely excited about my new position. However, I know that I could make and impact and have longevity in the managerial position in the other department that pays better. I would think a company would want the best fit for all of their employees. And because I just got the offer last week, there is a change the runner up candidate in the position I accepted is still available.
This is delicate, for precisely the reason you pointed out: You don't want to appear flighty or like you're not committed to the job you accepted.
If you do this, you need to be very, very careful about how you do it, both in words and in the vibe you give. You don't want to come across as if you're coveting this other position, but rather that you're raising a possibility that might help the company solve a business problem. I think if I were determined to do this, I would say something like this: "I wanted to raise something with you, and if it's crazy, I won't give it another thought. I saw you're hiring a __, which is something I have a lot experience with. Now don't worry -- I'm excited to get to work and have been thinking a lot about ___ (fill this in with a project you'll be working on in your new role). But I don't know which of these two jobs is harder to hire for. If this new one is a tougher one to fill, would it be worth talking about whether the company could better utilize me there?"
Be prepared for them to shut you down on this immediately. They may not think you're the strongest fit for the second position, and/or they may not want to screw over or the manager who has already been told you're about to start working for her. Or they might just not want the hassle of dealing with something like this, especially if they know they're not going to have a hard time finding a great fit for the second position, even if they do think you could be good for it too.
On the other hand, who knows, maybe they'll be open to it.
But I do think it can be a risky move, so weigh all the factors carefully before proceeding.