An EventProf’s Brexit: A Soft or Hard Exit?

Did you know that March is the month of Optimism? Best we tell Theresa May that, eh?

We also celebratee International Pancake Day this month and (would you believe it) Awkward Moments Day, which fell on March 18th. What’s more awkward than that final conversation between an employer and a departing employee when one or both parties aren’t feeling the love? Good thing today is Proposal Day, where new unions are formed, and also the start of Spring, a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.

With Employee Appreciation Day and National Salesperson Day on the first Friday of this month and Brexit scheduled for the 29th March at 11pm (if it hasn’t been shifted back by then), it really is a month full of potential for celebration…or disaster.

The question is this: when you’ve had enough of your current job, do you make a soft or hard exit?

Did you know, that the way in which you exit one job strongly influences your success in the next? Have you thought through and rationalised your reasons for wanting to leave and then identified and mapped out a new challenge (a soft exit) or are you just fed up with the same old grind, disillusioned and disaffected, bored or stressed, and feeling that nothing will change (a hard exit)?

In truth, if we are unhappy, there are only three options to consider. Either we try to change the organisation (good luck with that one), we try to change ourselves, or we leave and find a better fit for our needs.

There are many reasons why we might move on, and we won’t be the first person to leave a job we enjoy when culture or management are a problem. The key thing to remember is that people leave people, people don’t leave companies. So, even when the infrastructure isn’t quite up to the standards we might expect, high performing teams with great leadership will still achieve higher retention and generate better outcomes. Poor management and even worse, lousy leadership, kills performance every time…even when all the infrastructure bells and whistles are ringing nicely on the organisational bus.

That means people are responsible for culture and people create toxic or healthy environments. People leave people – did I just say that? And, we are all people, right? We all play a part in that dynamic, it’s not just created by managers and leaders. We may not be able to change others, but we can certainly influence them. The way in which we act, respond and react, cannot not impact others. Try not to think of a blue tree! See?

Changing yourself will shift the dynamic in which you work

It might not solve the problem entirely (there’s a bit more personal development needed for that), but it will make the working environment less stressful, giving you time to make a soft exit rather than a hard one.

Calling for accountability and managing upwards are very real avenues open to us all, as is playing out the victim and avoiding conflict. We make a choice. It’s worth remembering that the same way an organisation has invested in recruiting you, so you have invested yourself in the business in which you are working. Your relationship may be in its infancy, you may be hitting midlife crisis, or slipping into maturity – and each stage will present different demands, different levels of commitment and loyalty. Before jumping ship (it’s not going down just yet) surely it pays to try to broker a deal that works for both parties?

What do you say, Theresa May? Have you really asked for what you want and need?

No Regrets!

Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien. You’re probably too young to remember the famous song by Edit Piaf, but it is important when you decide to leave your job that you do so with no regrets. Regret comes through a sense of loss, a sense of having missed out, or the feeling that you are letting someone down. Have you ever had the feeling of having made the wrong choice? The new job may feel wrong and less enticing than it did at the interview as a result of that feeling, and you can safely say that if it does your time there will be limited.

If you are searching for a good feeling to replace a bad one, just being approached by a recruiter/head hunter for a new opportunity can give you that sense of feeling valued. But there is a big difference between the vacation (lazing under the sun for a brief period) and the residence (full time, sloggin’ it out, in all weather conditions). Hard exits can give the impression that the grass is greener, when the weather systems are just the same.

So, is the soft exit the best approach… or maybe there’s a no exit option?

In the first instance – giving careful consideration to your options – exiting for the right reasons is key. Have you exhausted all avenues to make your current job work for you (and the business)? If you have, you know you can leave with your head held high and hopefully without feeling badly towards your ex-employer. If not, here are some questions to consider that will help provide clarity before you decide to leave.

    • What expectations did you have of your current role that haven’t been satisfied?
      Did the organisation have the same expectations? Check the language used by both parties. Responsibility is different from authority. Success needs quantifiable measures that everyone understands in the same way. I run the rule that if you can’t put it on the table for everyone to see, then people will have a different opinion of what ‘it’ is…and that’s a recipe for disaster!
    • Have your expectations changed?
      If so, have you told your boss?
    • Has the organisation shifted its expectations or direction?
      What is it about that change that you don’t like? Could you look at it differently, find things to align yourself with? If change has taken place within the organisation, what stops you going along on that journey?
    • Were you completely honest with yourself when you took the job or did you have a niggle from the start?
      Niggles will always come back to haunt you!

It’s worth remembering that if you had any reservations before you took on the role, you will easily seek out evidence in support of them, and further reinforce your dissatisfaction. The niggle gains weight and becomes harder to get rid of. It can be much harder to look for all the good reasons to stay. And, of course, there will be imperfection in the next job, too, and you’ll have to start that investment all over again. As long as you aren’t compromising your core values and not pushing the boundaries of legality, what’s the problem?

Of course, brokering the ideal deal isn’t always clean cut…is it, Theresa? And, in such cases, you might need an adviser on your side.

Need some help, advice, support?

Want to make a soft exit, with no regrets? Find the best fit for you? Toss a pancake on International Pancake Day and hand in your notice on Awkward Moments Day? If you’re looking for something new and challenging, thinking of moving in the coming year, or looking to hire people who are moving for the right reasons…talk to us.

Oh, and by the way…Brexit, soft exit, hard exit or no exit? ? Time will tell.

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Don’t miss our last blog:
To Have and to Hold (onto!) – Attracting and Retaining Events Talent

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Attract, Develop and Retain, Events Careers, Uncategorized