I Quit… I Think

The following is the first in a series of articles designed to help a prospective candidate negotiate their way through the process of leaving a position, engaging with a recruiter and hopefully finding something new.

This piece addresses the question – when is the right time to make a move and what motivators are acceptable for doing so?

Originally, the plan was to call this article  ‘Should I Stay or Should I go’, which I thought was an excellent and original title for a piece like this, and would surely bring smiles to the faces of many Clash fans who might decide to read it. 


However, when I typed the title into LinkedIn to check no one else had the same idea, I came across this:

Which explains the revised title. 

The question still remains though, if you are thinking of moving on from your current position, when is the best time to do so, and why should you go elsewhere?


In terms of the ‘when’, from a recruitment perspective it is difficult to say. This Fortune article  (originally taken from Quora) is of the opinion that 18 months is the minimum. This shows that you have ‘survived’ at least a couple of performance reviews in your last role, and that you probably haven’t been fired for being an underperformer, and it ensures that you can’t be criticised for not giving the role a chance.  Obviously this isn’t taking into account any extenuating circumstances such as acquisitions, major layoffs, or leaving for personal reasons.

From a recruitment perspective, if a move is voluntary, we would usually look for candidates to have averaged tenures of more than 2 years over their last roles, but ideally longer than that. Statistics show that around 91% of Millennials  (those born between 1977- 1997) expect to stay in a role for less than 3 years, so we have to take into account that seeing candidates hold positions for 7-10 years may be a thing of the past.

So if you’ve been in the role for a while, given it a go and you think it may not be for you, then what are considered acceptable motivators for making a move elsewhere?

Hundreds of studies have been conducted on this topic globally, with various different motivations taking the top prize in terms of what is most likely to push a candidate out of the door. This study from the Boston Consulting Group surveyed over 200,000 people to find out what they look for in a role, and the results showed that the number one thing that candidates look for in a position is being appreciated for the work that they’ve done.

So, perhaps if you’re not feeling appreciated in your role this could be your trigger to start looking elsewhere (if you agree with those 200,000). Or perhaps you feel de-motivated? Have you struggled to gel with the rest of the workforce as much as you might like? Or do you just want to move to a tropical island? All can be signs it’s time to jump ship.

Unless you’re really set on the island idea, the first thing that we would recommend you do (if possible) is to have a chat with your line manager before committing to a move. If there are issues within your workplace, a discussion with your company might bring about a simple solution which leaves all parties happier. After all, changing positions is a big decision, and not one to be taken lightly.

However sometimes, circumstances don’t allow that chat, or you have it and still feel uneasy about your current position. Then the next challenge is often timing – when is best to make the jump, and how do you do it?

Once again, there are a lot of different opinions on when you should ideally make that move, but the simple answer is that there is no right or wrong time. Also, unless the decision is made for you, the harsh reality is that no one else is going to help you decide. There are always reasons not to go elsewhere, and leaving to find a new role will always be more appealing in 6 weeks, 6 months or a year from now, because let’s face it… It’s a stressful thing to do!

The fact that you’re reading articles about moving positions is probably a good indicator that now might be the time to entertain new options, particularly if you’ve thought through all of the points mentioned above, and are still seriously considering a new challenge.

If this is the case, and you work in either the Medical, Life Science or Energy sectors, Charlton Morris may be able to help. Feel free to email if you would like to arrange a confidential conversation, and make sure you follow Charlton Morris on LinkedIn for further insights, industry news and of course the latest job opportunities.

From the archive

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