Recently I made this decision. Left my day job at senior management of top tier company of Azerbaijan, Azercell Telecom. Yes, I jumped off from plane with half parachute, while betting on building a parachute and a better realization of my wishes on the way. Why half parachute ? Since, did not left while accepting another offer, but, did it betting on myself and running for future.
It is true that this is not easy decision and I know that many more professional people still hesitate or scared of this decision. Writing this post I am looking forward to share my own experience and hoping to help those who are in transition or thinking seriously about next life challenge. I am still 1-2 weeks into the new transition stage, but, hopefully will share more over time to help people to make this transition much more successful.
I’ll focus on 3 main bullet points :
- Reasons to leave your corporate job.
- How to get ready for jump.
- Adopting new realities.
Want to mention that those analysis and recommendations are derived from my own experience and does not necessarily mean that it will definitely applicable for everyone. So please accept it as disclaimer, take it more like a story told by a friend who want to be really helpful to you. Decisions on your career are purely your own responsibility and this article only helps you to hear different aspects which will help you for your better decision making.
1 – Reasons to leave your corporate job
I like to categorize things. Here want to put the potential reasons in some order. Those are mostly common reasons why people are not happy at their work , according to my own observations.
A – You are not growing at your company
This is most common reason what you hear from people. Term of not growing can mean from learning perspective to career growth perspective. It can mean anything, while having something common in. You don’t feel that you are moving ahead. If you are have this feeling for a longer period my best advice is to talk to your direct manager. Ask them to help you to figure out what is going to happen next. If you have already done those steps and nothing is happening, it can be a reason why you are considering leave your job.
B – You are not fairly paid at your job
Lets be frank to ourselves. Money is critical. You exchange your knowledge, skills and abilities for money while you are at work. At the end of month you are putting your plastic card into the metallic machine called ATM and magic happens. You are given money. Now, question is – are you fairly paid ?
Term – fairness is somewhat subjective but here are common quantitative research you can do for your decision. Check your peers at your own company/competitors/industry players for approximate levels of salaries received. Of course, salary information is confidential , but, you can ask for some ranges from friends and hopefully they can provide you with some approximate ranges. I strongly don’t advice not to ask salaries from people but rather to explain your situation and your intention to understand where you are located. Bellow is an example of your potential research outcome. The more dense area of responses is where median is. Please keep in mind that while you do your research make sure that you compare the same roles and the same scope of work. Otherwise it might not be well represented.
In every country there are salary survey data available, but, mostly it is done purely for HR communities. If you have friends at Human Resources from different organizations, you can get their opinions on fair market value for your job. Don’t ask them for those survey results, since it will be not much ethical thing to do.
If you are at 25% – th percentile or bellow, it seems like you are not fairly treated. There can be of course other reasons, like your tenure, your experience, but, at the end of the day what matters is your scope and salary you get for.
C – You feel unhappy at work – culture\relationships\your boss
Culture is everything. Believe me. Without right culture things does not stick together for a longer time. I have seen many so to say successful companies who were managed only by “Boss Rule” and sooner or later they were always not on the winners side. Culture is set of attitudes of spoken and done together. If you feel that you are just not comfortable in this environment, this can be an alarm for you tho think more in deep for potential reasons.
Your manager, person whom you report directly is the one of the main subjects that you have to consider while evaluating your current job. Direct managers, are those who can make you to stars or push you down to ocean deeps. So, if your direct manager, is helping you and making you to move ahead is a very good news. Otherwise, it is an alarm sign. Even at your new position, you will look for your manager first and then for your company.
2 – How to get ready for jump
Now, if you found yourself not satisfied while answering upper mentioned questions and decided to make the jump, here are the main tips for you to get prepared.
A – Understand what is your ideal state
Running from fire is good, but, it is better to run from fire to safety, to a better place. Please sit down , write down! (Yes, write , one a blank sheet) what is your ideal state and how you want to make your living. How you want to earn and spend. Please not that I did not mention here, characteristics of company you want to work at. Since for some people corporate life is not what makes them happy.
Some people are good at corporate life other are in private business, or entrepreneurship. Both are fair choices but, has to be a good match with your personality. Define, draw and write what makes you happy. Imagine that you got to age of 60+. Think of a role that will make your face smile and make you happy thinking about things you have been doing during your life. This is the most effective tool for me. I call it “60+ check”. I believe it should work for you as well.
B – Acquire needed resources, network and commitments
Make research and see what is needed for your ideal state to happen. Do you need network ? Do you need resources, like money, knowledge ? Do you have friends who can help you with some introductions ?
Most probably you have to define who you are and make sure that people around you know that or appreciate you for your achievements. Results and personal image management should work hand by hand. You should both work hard to show results and make sure that people know about them. Over time you will get momentum on your area. More and more effectively.
Build your network of people who know you and act as your positive ambassadors. Believe me , there are many more people around who are ready to tell bad stuff about you. So grow your positive ambassadors to overcome those negative chatters.
Help companies, brands , people on their targets. Sometimes without money, just to show your performance by your job, not by what you tell. Build good and quality network. This will also give you a good self confidence , since you will feel your real market value.
C – Plan date.
Obviously before defining a date you should already have a plan. Jumping without a plan is a stupid thing to do, at least of for mid tier people like most of folks around. Even bad plan is better than being without a plan. And yes, a plan B is always a good thing to have since it will give another shot of confidence.
Before getting to the date setting make sure that you will be leaving responsibly. Responsible leaving will mean that you will not hurt your ex-company and your colleagues. Sometimes I hear stories of intentional bad behavior before leaving. This is very, very bad. Don’t do it. Instead, make sure that less and less processes are depended on you. Make sure your colleagues have access to information that so far has been only on your custody. (Yes, mainly most impactful subjects are around data available to some employees, while others are without them).
Plan date in accordance to your employee agreement. Depending on your contract you must have a notice period. Please try to obey it, otherwise you might face situations drawing you plan under the risk.
Go to your manager and share your decision. Not to HR, but to your direct manager. He/she is your main contact person and responsible one for your career and your loyalty/retention. Start planning your activities.
3 – Adopting new realities.
Day 1 – What is you attitude ?
Yes! You made it. You are hero ! People wish you good wishes. Farewell parties are all gone pretty well. Time to time you might feel depressed since you are leaving your comfort zone, but, don’t be scared. There are never better careers without leaving your comfort zones.
Now you are at your new job, or you started as pure entrepreneur. Working all by yourself while facing challenge of the new life. Smile. You are already a hero! You made something that most people cannot do ! and, now it is time to work like horse to recover and get to even more highs than before.
Never show bad attitude to your ex company or colleagues. Always show positive mood and be helpful if they ask for favors after you have left. It is a very stupid thing to ruin relationships. I really don’t understand those people who can tear down relationships with old colleagues.
Work Work work. Smile and have FUN! Having Fun is what will make happy and focused on you new challenge. Whether it is a new Corporate job or your own business.
Adopting to new life
Have open talk to your new manager of to your partners at your new career position. Make sure that you are understood and you are willing to make best at your new role. Don’t let situation to roll you into the position as you had at your ex-company position. Be open to your new partners/direct managers and expect them to ask that from your as well. Adopt and improve corporate culture at new position. You are new and there is high probability of mismatch between your culture set and theirs. Try to adopt or talk to the managers to introduce some new culture elements, if the existing ones are obviously broken. Never try to change culture at the place where you are new. Over time your behavior and your interactions will influence the existing culture anyhow. So take on it easy.
Communication and networking
Keep communicating with people around you. Please note that your time is very expensive and don’t waste it to those without positive attitude. Don’t spend time to “time-eaters” – those who are ready to chit chat and talk for hours and hours without any actual value.
Be along smart people. Look for Smart people. Talk to them, share and learn. There is not many things in the world giving much satisfaction as learning something new everyday.
I hope this post will help those who are thinking and not much happy at their current roles.
You can write me directly over twitter if you have particular questions @imranbaghirov . I’ll try much to help you if I can.
Wish you all the best.