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Thinking of Quitting Your Job?

Keep these in mind.

Exit sign

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total job openings as of the end of June were 9.6 million.  Also according to the BLS, the total number of unemployed persons in July was 5.8 million.  So for every job opening, there was 3/5 of a person looking for a job.  Now just because someone is unemployed doesn’t necessarily mean they’re qualified to fill the jobs available to them.

So the fraction of people available to fill job openings is likely much smaller than 3/5.  Maybe 1/2, even 1/3?
Net, net, employers can’t find the people to fill their jobs.  Some would argue this puts employees in an enviable position, with greater leverage than they’ve had before.
I can’t argue with that in general, but let’s get specific.  Let’s talk about you.

If you’re thinking of quitting, please consider the following. 
And if you’re a leader, please consider the following so you don’t lose great talent.

1)  Are you thinking of leaving because you just can’t stand it anymore where you are?
If you’re thinking, “It can’t possibly be worse there than it is here”, think again.  Make sure you know what you’re getting into.  How competent is the leadership?  What’s the culture truly like (other than what they promote on their website)?  And remember, when you’re interviewing, you’re being treated as a guest.  Once you join the organization, you’re family.  And perhaps with less special treatment.

Note for leaders:
You’re responsible for the performance and culture in your company / department / team.  What’s it like?  You may like it, but what do your best performers think about it?  Remember, great employees have options these days.  They’re the ones others want.  They’re the ones your competitors want.

2) You can’t stand your current manager.  Anything’s better than this.
Assuming you’re not dealing with unethical or illegal behavior by your manager, think again.  See point 1 above.  What do you know about your potential future manager other than their LinkedIn profile?

Note for leaders:
How are you experienced by your people, and particularly by your best employees?  And how do you know that for certain?
It’s partially true to say that people don’t leave their job; they leave their manager.
I would qualify that by saying the most skilled people don’t have to accept leadership foolishness.  They have options.
So, what are doing to ensure you attract, retain and engage great people?

3) I’ll have greater opportunity at the new organization.  They’ve told me so.
Possibly, but unless you’re unionized or have a contract, remember the term “at-will employment”.  What’s true today, can readily change tomorrow, with your having little recourse.
So instead of assuming all will be great, and you’ll achieve heights of development at your new employer, look at their track record instead.  Who do you know who’s been there a while?  What’s been their experience?  Did they receive valuable development?  Moreover, were they an “A-player”?  If so, did they receive any development?  If they were an A-player, but did not, I’d think again.  Talk is cheap.  What you want to see is hard evidence of their commitment to your development.

Note for leaders:
What are you doing to build the skills of your people, and particularly your A-players, the ones with the most options?  Remember, your A-players are the ones people are contacting on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.  They’re the ones receiving text messages and phone calls, and possibly having Zoom meetings with recruiters and potential employers.
What are you doing to ensure as best as possible that they say, “Thanks, but I like it here”, or “Thanks, but I can’t pass up the opportunities I have here”?
You may not have a huge budget for talent development, but you do have your time.  And, yes, it may mean you’ll have to spend extra time on the front end developing your people.  But can you imagine the time you’ll spend when your best employees leave for a better opportunity?

Summary note for employees:
Leaving a job comes with attendant risk and opportunity.  And it’s reasonable to focus on the opportunity.  Make sure, though, you’re not ignoring the risk to your career by leaving.

Summary note for leaders:
Leaving a job comes with attendant risk and opportunity for your employees.  And it’s reasonable for you to focus on the benefits of their staying right where they are.  Make sure, though, you’re not ignoring the risk to their careers by staying.