In my 12 years as a C-Suite Headhunter, I used to speak with many prospective candidates on a daily basis. Most were willing to listen to the career opportunity that I was sharing, but there is always a startling group of individuals who are simply closed-minded about it. They refuse to consider moving even though their careers seem stagnant or were severely underpaid.
Now, there is no absolutely right or wrong reasons for leaving your job, but before you decide to stubbornly cling on to your job, consider some excuses I often received and see if they resonate with you.
#1: “But I’m loyal to my company!”
I get this often from people who have worked in their company for many years.
I often reply, “but is your company loyal to you? Didn’t your company just retrench a bunch of staff last year? Were those who were retrenched the cheaper, younger guys or the more expensive, senior folks like you?”
Loyalty is a two-way street and often, it is lopsided. Your company’s interest is often aligned to the stock-market, not the employees.
#2: “But I love my boss!”
Yes, I’m sure he’s Mother-Teresa and Santa-Claus all rolled into one, but what makes you so sure he’ll be there forever?
How sure are you that I’m not currently speaking with him for another role as well? What happens if he leaves, and another person steps into his role?
If your boss is really as great as you say he is, I’m certain he wouldn’t begrudge you a better role in another company, would he?
#3: “But I’m comfortable with my job scope.”
So said the typewriter repairman…
Being in your comfort zone for too long is a sign of Career Stagnation. It means you’re not moving forward and in today’s disruptive world, that’s a dangerous place to be.
If your skills haven’t improved, or if you’re not being challenged constantly with new problems that need new solutions, you are being left behind in the old world and very soon, will be obsolete.
#4: “But the Money is good here.”
I’m sure you think it is, but do you really know what you’re truly worth outside your company?
Research has shown that the longer you stay in your company, the lower your salary is compared to the market. This is because the usual 3-5% annual salary increments can never match up to the 15-20% uplift each job-change brings, so are you actually underpaid?
On the flipside, your bosses may be paying you a ‘super-normal’ package just to retain you, but are you getting the career satisfaction or work-life balance you envy in other people?
#5: “But my Team needs me!”
I’m sure they do, but your family needs you more.
If you are stuck in a dead-end job with little prospect for career advancement, or are underpaid and unhappy, don’t you think your family will be better off with you in a happier, better paying job? Is your loyalty really to your team-mates or your family?
Moreover, your team-mates may not feel the level of loyalty as you. They will leave once a better offer comes along, so don’t be the last one in the party who’s holding on to the ticking time bomb.
#6: “But I have such a great history in my company!”
Are you resting on your past laurels? Are you basking in your glory days past? Are you too entrenched in your comfort zone?
Yes, you may be having a great run with your company, but what better way to get out than to exit on a high note? To quit whilst you’re still ahead? In fact, it is your excellent track record that your next employer will pay a premium for, so why not move?
In essence, you need to distinguish whether these are your “Reasons” for staying, or your “Excuses” for staying… once you can tell which is which, your situation will become clearer. If you are ambivalent about leaving yoru company, spend time with your Career Mentor and he will be able to let you know whether it is the right move or not.
Adrian Choo is a Thought Leader, Author and CEO/Founder of Career Agility International, a global Career Strategy Consulting firm. A C-suite Mentor, he is a much sought-after speaker and can be heard on radio 91.3FM every Thursday morning where he shares his latest ideas on Career Dynamics. He helps mid-career executives to find CareerClarity™ and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.