Sometimes People Do Quit Their Jobs, Not Managers.

‘People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers’ is a common phrase circulating the internet recently. But what happens when your manager is the one thing keeping you in a job? Career advice from a career addict. There are a lot of articles floating around that posit people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers. […]

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‘People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers’ is a common phrase circulating the internet recently. But what happens when your manager is the one thing keeping you in a job? Career advice from a career addict.

There are a lot of articles floating around that posit people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers. These articles swirled around in my mind for nearly 12 months and their words actually kept me in my role for a lot longer, purely for the fact that I didn’t want to quit my manager and I didn’t want her to think I was quitting her too.

Sometimes, managers are supportive, motivating, trusting, and empowering, but work still isn’t fulfilling. What happens when the people you work with, your manager included, are actually one of the reasons that you stay in your role but the work itself isn’t something you see yourself doing for the next 5, 10, 20 years?

Sometimes, people do quit their jobs.

Fact of the matter is, if you have a great relationship with your employer and colleagues, after spending 45 – 50 hours a week with them and still look forward to seeing them every day, they should still remain friends even if you decide to leave the organisation or change internally.

So what do you do if you need to leave your job because of the job, not because of your manager?

Understand what you want:

Before you start looking for a new role you need to take time to actually understand what you want in your next position and your career. What are you lacking in your current position that is making you want to look in the first place? Consider what you want to be doing in 10 years’ time and work your way backwards from the end-goal.

I find that having a 5 – 10 year plan or fully understanding the industry / profession that you want to work in helps as a guide to work backwards from. If you want to end up as a Human Resources Director, taking a role as an administrator might not necessarily be the most strategic move. Work backwards from this and take the first step towards your long-term goal. Look at people on LinkedIn who currently have the title or profession you want and see their career trajectory, how did they get to where they were?

Think about what you want, not only a new position but also benefits or working arrangements that go along with that. Do you need flexible hours, remote working, hands on management, ongoing training? Analyse your current situation and what you feel you are missing or what you’re currently craving, what are your non-negotiables?

Can your current organisation give you that?

Once you understand what you want and what it is you are looking for, look within your current organisation and see if they could offer you this progression or step in the right direction. If you really enjoy the environment you work and your organisation as a whole, you have nothing to lose by looking within the company prior to looking elsewhere.

Speak with you manager and be open and honest about the fact that you are looking and what you are lacking in your current role. If you are a valued member of staff and have a lot to offer, roles can be created or additional responsibilities could be provided to help you feel more satisfied in your current position without having to leave.

This would obviously depend on the sort of relationship you have with your employer and make sure you approach this in the right way. By coming to your manager first, they have the opportunity to try to keep you within the company but also approach with caution, if they aren’t a good mentor or manager, knowing that you are looking elsewhere could be detrimental. You will need to make this decision based on your relationship.

Does what you are looking for exist?

We all want roles that pay us $250k a year with flexible and remote working arrangements, fast career development, training and development, bring your dog to work policies, extra paid days off, new car, and free food, but in reality, these probably don’t exist.

I would advise to have a think about your needs, preferable’s and bonuses and look for organisations or roles that can offer these benefits.

Network and connect with people who are in the roles that you aspire to be. Speak with recruiters who specialise in the area and get an understanding of the clients that they work with or market trends they have found, previous candidates they have placed and advice around how you should approach your job search. They might even be able to help you with the process or have suitable clients they can speak with about your background. Speaking with people who are knowledgeable and experts in the industry will never hurt, so what do you have to lose?

Lastly, make sure you are leaving for the right reasons and you have a clear picture of where you want to go. If you are looking for the sakes of leaving or because you feel stale and will take the next opportunity that comes available, you will find yourself in the same position in 6 – 12 months’ time. Everyone goes through ebb’s and flows in their work, no matter how much you love your position and company so take the time to ascertain whether it’s just a down period and if not, make a strategic plan for your next move. 

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