Let’s begin by being crystal clear: Your initial priorities should be your well-being and the advancement of your career. Indeed, opportunities for genuine growth – both personal and professional – are never to be overlooked. There is an obvious distinction, however, between personal growth and that of the professional variety. Personal growth is as unique to the individual as the quality of your most private thoughts and ideas, the direction of your interests, and the inclinations at the heart of your talents and skills. In fact, some people devote the entirety of their attention and energy to this pursuit throughout their lives and, frankly, we can hardly blame them. The latter, however, – professional growth – is the primary focus of our discussion today.
Professional growth revolves around career advancement, expanding networks, and the acuity to catch such opportunities before they flit away. Those devoted to personal growth are often not overly concerned with the opinions of others beyond common courtesy, but those pursuing professional growth must have a much more complex awareness to a myriad of ever-shifting factors: Most specifically, timing, which is what we’ll move to explore now.
The Worst of Times
Now granted, there are very, few times when it’s completely advantageous to leave a job, which isn’t to say these circumstances are completely nonexistent. For example: A workplace becomes intolerably toxic, or you have received an iron-clad offer to skyrocket your career. However, these examples are fairly far-and-few-between (at least we hope so, in the case of the former). The final point here is to ensure you’re making an informed decision.
So, here are a few of the most glaring and common mistakes many people make when considering quitting their current position:
- Emotion: Perhaps you have just had a significantly heated “meeting of the minds” with your boss. You know in your heart of hearts that he or she is completely in the wrong, yet they are not even remotely flexible on this issue. You are furious, possibly even shaking after the encounter. You want out, and you want out now. Do not act. Don’t quit; don’t vent to coworkers; don’t immediately go to HR. Before taking any action – any at all – let your emotions settle, and think. Only then, proceed as you feel you must.
- Personal Concerns: You should always take into account the factors of your personal life before making a big professional decision. Are you or a dependent sick with a disease or debilitation? That company insurance goes a long way. Are you or your significant other pregnant? The insecurity of job-seeking off the cuff is a major stressor atop an already life-changing situation. The list goes on.
- Just before you get fired: This one can be tricky. If you’re going to need to collect unemployment funds while you seek another job, quitting often disqualifies you. There are pros and cons here, however, if you quit, you won’t have to explain away getting fired to your next interviewer. Weigh your options.
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”; this axiom comes into play most heavily throughout this entire issue, but especially when it comes giving your boss the proper notice (as of course, you must). The problem is that you must anticipate how they’ll react, and plan accordingly.
Absolutely pay mind to the final logistics of your departure, leaving no loose ends: Final pay, severance, benefit end dates, securing recommendations (from coworkers if your boss refuses), and an exit interview, if applicable, must all be factored in.
The moment you make your decision to leave — even well before you give notice — begin looking to secure your next career step. You must never leave this to the last minute.
Good relationships with past employers is invaluable to every new step forward, so do your utmost to show your quality in the final weeks; yes, they’ll be paying special attention to you after you give notice.
In the end and above all else, be clever and have integrity.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200