Monday, February 07, 2011


There are tons of articles written and tons more on what to do if you think its time to leave your job! Owing to my experience working with people @ various leadership roles and having a fairly large and diverse set of teams over the years, here are the reasons I've uncovered as to why some one would want to leave a job. (and a small quirk on what to do in those situations)..... not in any particular order... the order of these points seem to be different for different folks... it is the idealogy of what is more important to you @ that point in time when you took the decision!

1. I'm not excited to come to the office on a Monday morning and am desperately waiting for the weekend!
Try and spend some time to figure out what is the real reason for your lack in motivation. Did something your supervisor said tick you off? Or did the PYT opposite cube reject your advances ;) ???
What ever be the reason, be mature about it and realise that a similar situation can arise in your new work environment as well! If you are able to tackle it now, then you will be clear in your actual intent for searching for a new job!
The best reason I got from a team member who wanted to leave for a job in another city (not for a higher pay.. it was almost the same), was that the neighbor's daughter got married and he never got to express his feelings for her! He could not bear to stay there any longer! Can you believe it??? And here I was, trying to ensure that the attrition rate is kept under check and what not!

2. The company I work for, is not known in the industry!
One of the companies I worked for in the initial segment of my career had an impressive clientile and some interesting projects to work on. The company was not really that well known; was a startup & was not the best known players .... YET. These kind of companies, according to me, are the best places to begin your career! These are the places where you can really unleash your creativity in the craziest of ways, and really get away with it, in the name of experimentation and learning. These are the real breeding pools of some amazing smart and young talent. If you are willing to sweat it out, put yourself to the grind, you can get up to some impressive titles and job roles really really quick! The startup companies, in their intent to establish themselves (though not willing to pay top cash for the best talent that they can hire), are willing to elevate/promote someone internally. (Read=someone the top management can trust - and that some one can be found quick as most of the folks ... even the top management can be on a first name basis with you!)
The best reason I got for someone wanting to quit - My parents are looking for a girl to get me married and I'm working in a company which is unheard of... I'm not getting good relations! Can you believe that???????

3. Am I making enough money?
Now this one is a major doozy! This is a very situational and sometimes tricky situation to deal with. If you put your resume to pasture and got nabbed by some one paying an insanely huge amount (in comparison to your current paycheck) to have you on board... it sounds too good to be true... it most probably is true! But, if you have the niche skills which actually got you a job that pays well, you should either negotiate with your existing company (providing you are not peeved with them totally) - remember the big fish small pond idiom??? OR just take the new job and move! Just don't burn any bridges! Do remember to keep your finances in check and have the ability to plan and project your expected earning requirement (for your planned expenses) - sounds tough, doesn't it? Well.... life is a bitch... it comes with its own sweet challenges... unless you are a trust fund yuppie... then ... enjoy!
The best reason I got in this situation - My girl friend wants us to get married and she does not enjoy working. I have to get a new job that can cover both our financial needs!

4. Do my opinions count @ work?
You would be surprised @ how many people gripe that their opinion does not count, their voice is not heard and that they are just a part of a team! In this day and age of communication and openness, you voicing your opinion actually means a lot! If you are an introvert and are not comfortable voicing your opinion in public with the fear that some one may reject your opinion.... well... do you know that your opinion will be rejected unless you actually voice it out??? Communicating during group meetings, brainstorming sessions are seen as being a team player, some one who wants to express their views and see what direction can be given to the activity being performed!
I actually left a job where despite my efforts, my opinions were not being given any importance @ all. I'm not an introvert... not by any measure what so ever, but 6 months of constantly being pushed around, I had it enough and moved on! Their loss :)

5. Am I @ the cutting edge?
This is a constant question which a lot of folks face, given the constant changing face and pace of the current job market! There are several scenarios here....are you in a position where your skills are not being used to the max and you either working on something irrelevant, or having too much time on your hands? Then it is time to either have a talk with your supervisor or if you've already done that... time to move on! If you are in a position where you constantly feel left out of the technical aspects of the work, you either need to upgrade yourself to the need of the project you are engaged in, or move to a different project/job where your current skills are in demand. Do remember though, the current skills are .... well... current. They are history tomorrow :( .
There will come a point in your career where you will need to make a decision whether you want to continue down the technical path - which will be a constant technical skill upgrades - just like the multitude patch upgrades which microsoft keeps releasing all the time; OR move into a different career path - say management. Again... management positions are not everyone's cup of tea. There is a fine balance between technical knowhow (not necessarily the technical skill required to complete a project), people management (both reportees and other managers/folks), politics and diplomacy. Every company should have a training dept, which will assist you in your training needs.... if there is none, work with your supervisor to use external facilities for the necessary trainings.
I've not had anyone come to me and tell that they are leaving because they feel under utilised, but have worked with my team members and my supervisors to enhance the skill sets of my team and myself!

6. Is there a Career path?
Defining a career path is as important for yourself as defining the route you will be taking while driving from point A to point B! If you do not defined a career path for yourself, you are going with the flow, and not on your path! You may get lucky once in a while and land a plum position... but luck cannot keep you going forever, can it? You don't need a finely defined path which states the various positions you need to work on, to get a maybe VP position! What you do need, is the roles and work you intend to work on and have a broad goal - I want to be the IT director in 5 years from now. Remember the time when we were little and had this dream saying I want to be a pilot, engineer, doctor, bus driver etc! Thats a career goal too. How you get there is what you define through the course of working in the company and being able to chart your path!
When was the last time you've had a career path discussion with your supervisor and your HR? Part of your annual goals and objectives should be aligned towards your career path and assist you in attaining your personal career goals. If that is not happening, time to discuss with your supervisor NOW.
Though this is not a major reason to leave an organisation, I have faced situations where there is a role stagnation and you've done everything you need do in this role and there are no more challenges left! You know every curve ball that this job is going to throw @ you! There is lack of interest in you to perform this role! When I moved to an organisation, I was shocked to learn that in some departments there were people working there for over 15 years. What is surprising about it? That shows commitment.. right? In the same role??? Now that is a serious lack of career path and lack of interest in the individual to move up the rank or take up new challenges! And unfortunately this was the case in a lot of departments. No guesses for how long I stayed there!

We can go and find a multitude of reasons for wanting to leave a job and look for another, but the # 1 reason which a lot of HR folks state is that you don't leave an organisation, but the company of people you work with! Which in a way is true.... it is the people who make up the organisation. If you are unable to work with the people around you, look for the reasons, who knows, small changes may make an ocean of difference! Sometimes it may be an attitude adjustment.... in you!

But I challenge you to top this reason for wanting to move away from my team .... (back story - I was managing a team providing global support for a customer's business application suite - 24X7X52 environment. She did not want to work in the night shifts any more. The other team members had all made concessions for her for well over 3 months and were no longer having any patience left .... C'mon.... they didn't want to morph into night owls permanently!) Tells me she wants a 1:1 meeting and says.... we are trying for a baby and my husband works the daytime hours and we need the nights for ourselves! Picture the Mask movie where Jim Carrie's mouth drops the floor... that was my expression! Not that I'm inhumane and insensitive to other's personal needs.... hey... now I know why India is over populated! Needless to say, she got all the time she needed..... permanently.

Do remember... you are working in a cut throat global environment now. No longer in a plum government job, where seniority automatically begets you a promotion - unless you are actually in a government job! If you are not smart enough, an opportunity, either internal or external, may pass by you before you know it! If you have considered all options and are all set to make the career move... make it smart, keep your options open and keep the relations with people!


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