Quitting your job… (or the art of when - and how - to move on)

03/10/2017

It’s a key time of year for people seeking new career opportunities. We see this for ourselves, with Vana Resourcing’s website welcoming the most number of visitors during the Autumn period.

Therefore it might appear strange that our latest blog focuses on departures rather than beginnings. ‘Quitting’ has negative connotations but we’ll suggest that, in the right circumstances, it can be one of the most positive career moves a person makes.

Our starting point was an online article published in July where an experienced Head of Talent & HR, Toni Thompson, shared her insight on knowing when the time is right to leave a job.

There are many reasons why people might seek a new opportunity. Some will have naturally outgrown a role, or aspire to greater seniority and salary. For others a change in personal circumstances create practical reasons to reconsider their career. Realistically however, a common impetus will be frustration. This could be down to anything from career inertia – for example a job starting to feel like Groundhog Day – to disengagement, a mismatch of organisational and personal goals/values, and simple gut instinct.

The key point made by Thompson was that whatever the motivation for quitting (and there are many), an individual should strive to leave a positive impression with the organisation they’re moving on from. It’s a view shared by Alison Doyle writing on personal finance website, The Balance. ‘If you don’t appropriately plan your resignation, you may find yourself at your wit’s end one day and end up quitting on the spot, which will ruin your chances to maintain a positive relationship with your past employer,’ writes Doyle.

Knowing you want to move job, such as for the examples given above, is easy enough. Knowing when to make that move is much harder to judge as emotion has to be balanced with practicality.

Enabling these conversations – and ultimately a successful transition – is something that Vana Resourcing has had first-hand experience of. Two very different cases come to mind:

  • A candidate we recently worked with had a successful career stretching back 15 years, and reached an enviable level with all the benefits of a senior position. However, during the last 12 months in role, she described how she felt a growing sense of unease; how her role lacked creativity, and that she felt undervalued and over-controlled to the point that work had stopped being enjoyable. On the other hand were a number of critical factors – maintaining stability at home, finances, and the worry of “will I be good enough elsewhere” – holding her back. Through the subsequent career search, Vana gently helped her to take each step, providing advice and a sounding board as and when it was needed. One year later and that same candidate is now thriving in a new role as HR Director for an SME-level organisation. “I feel fulfilled, I’m well respected and feel that I have autonomy over what I do and how I do it,” she told us. “It’s clear to me now that, although I could have stayed in my role, I would have ultimately burnt out. I was stifled and would have ended up resenting the company where I had built my career.”
  • Another candidate who we’d previously supported several years ago contacted us again recently. They’d been approached by their new employer directly and had taken up a new role, but the offer of a rapid succession move within a supporting environment did not translate to reality. In fact the pacey, commercial and agile culture promised instead turned out to be slow and bureaucratic once inside! Having sought our advice, we introduced her to a client for an HRD opportunity, but through the various conversations came a realisation that she needed to leave her new job irrespective because it had been the wrong move, added no value to the CV and made her unhappy (which was coming across). Having reflected, she contacted Vana to confirm her resignation and the decision to go travelling. However we’ll be catching up again on her return later this year regarding the next career move! 

Of course, we’re not encouraging anyone reading this to hand in their resignation tomorrow and head off to the nearest travel agent! However, we recognise that there are talented people dissatisfied with their current career circumstances but feel unable to take the next step. “We meet a lot of candidates who’ve made a career move that has not turned out as they’d hoped for a variety of reasons,” said Vana co-Director, Debbie Flowers. “That’s not a bad thing in itself – these things happen. But sitting on it for too long, and letting frustration build, is the problem. Recognising this, and then doing something about it leading ultimately to a professional exit reflects an individual’s intelligence, honesty, and integrity – very attractive qualities in the eyes of a future employer!”

In conclusion, it’s about making the transition in the most constructive way possible and carefully choosing, and then managing, the point of leaving – both of which require as much personal skill and judgement as any job search. Change won’t always be straightforward, but using the support available – and having the courage of your convictions to make the break – could pay dividends in the long run.

 

The online article which formed the starting point for our blog can be seen here.

And if our story resonates with your own career circumstances why not make positive change happen and have a conversation with us?