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Career Compass

Career Compassis a monthly column from ICMA focused on career issues for local government professional staff.  It is written by Dr. Frank Benest, ICMA's senior advisor for Next Generation Initiatives. If you have a career question you would like addressed in a future Career Compass, e-mail or contact Frank directly at

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Jul 30

Career Compass No. 33: Making the Move Up and Out--What's the Fit?

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM by Amber Ahlo

In this issue of Career Compass, Dr. Benest shows us when a bird's wings are strong enough for leaving the nest.

I’m a middle manager in a county organization who leads a program unit in a large public works department. I’ve been with the county for seven years and have developed a very positive relationship with my division manager, my staff, and my peers. I am well-regarded, generally like the work and the people, and know how to get things done within my department and the organization. I feel comfortable and valuable.

Recently, I have heard of a public works division manager position soon to come open in a city within the region. It may be a good move up and I think I would be competitive. However, I wonder if it would be the right move. I am particularly concerned if it be a right “fit” given the good experience that I’ve had with my current county organization.

Can you offer some advice as I consider this new opportunity?