Stayed Too Long In Your Job? 7 Signs For Perfect Timing To GET OUT!
This article is really for you loyal souls who stay at least 5 years or more at one company! Boy you are loyal and some of you may be scratching your head saying, “5 years? Hell, I have been at this company for 15 years!” Yes, there are still a few of you out there that have survived or perhaps even thrived for many years at your company. We call it, “Having a good run.” I remember a time when a good job run could last up to 15 or 20 years for some and actually, for an older generation, even finish the run with the perfect ending; a fully realized juicy retirement package! Lately, it appears that a good run can be defined as 5 years in the medical sales industry! I find it is not the length of the run that matters, it is finding the perfect timing to know when to end the run for yet another.
The past 2 weeks I have talked to a number of people who had good runs in their careers (some even a couple of runs at two different companies) each lasting sometimes 5 to 8 years. Then I noticed a common theme occurring, something funny happened, their “good runs” simply “ran out”, but they didn’t. No, not them, they stayed until the company fell apart or changes left them politically out. Oh there were signs, but they thought they could survive and perhaps even thrive yet again! After all, everyone hates to leave a good party, perhaps the best is yet to come? But alas, all good parties almost always come to an end and if you stay too long, you are usually left sitting with a bunch of sloppy drunks in a smoke filled room at one in the morning, wondering why you didn’t leave hours ago! So why? Why do people do this?
You may be saying, “Not me, oh no, I always get out when the going is good!” Well hats off to you! That means you went out of the stock market and into 100% cash when the market peaked in 2007! It also may mean that you sold your house in 2005 and put all that cash aside in a safe place and moved into an apartment. Did you escape the Tech crash of 1999? You never bought a stock at a low price, watched it soar up and then watched it slide back down below your purchase price before you sold out at a loss too, right? Worse, are you still holding onto it waiting for a comeback? You see what I mean? Everyone hates to get off of a good run! We keep thinking things will keep soaring and when they turn south most keep holding on, hoping it will get better.
We do it with our jobs too! We might have worked for what was a solid or even a hot company and then slowly, but surely their foundation starts to crumble. Perhaps our company is doing fine, but be we begin to feel that we are politically out. We think we can still survive if we keep hanging on and they will start liking us again. You see, in the beginning there are always signs, signs that the “good run” is coming to an end and if we read them correctly, we get out before the downturn or minimally before the total crash. In the context of careers, the crash is typically a loss of a job; you just didn’t get off quickly enough, unless you planned to wait and get a LARGE cash settlement (which actually can be smart depending how employable you are and the current market hiring conditions). So what are the signs?
7 Signs For Perfect Timing to GET OUT
1. Your once solid or even hot company has growing performance issues that are inherent to their mismanagement or worse, products that are dated, no longer competitive. Maybe you are in a market segment where technology has passed you by (Think Smith Corona Typewriters trying to survive with Word Processors, think of the once strong BlackBerry phone vs. the iPhone or Smart Phones, think of selling surgical sutures with open surgical procedures dwindling, think of a foam dressing or silver dressing that everyone has and the price or product life cycle is at the end of the bell curve and the list goes on).
2. You missed the number 1 sign above and now your company has rumors of being up for sale. See my earlier article on this topic: Prepare Your Career; 16 Signs Your Company Is Up For Sale.
3. There has been at least one downsizing at your company (perhaps more to come) and you are a solid quota performer but you live in a remote area between two major cities; you live in Lubbock, TX and a top rep. lives in Dallas and one in Houston; man in the middle is OUT.
4. You begin to notice all the top sales people and managers in your company have begun to leave, you can see you are going to be the last one at the party with all the drunks if you don’t leave now! When I use to do merger acquisition work, we would make a point of going to our top performers to make sure they were valued and had a job, BECAUSE WE KNEW TOP PERFORMERS will always leave first! They ain’t sticking around, they are real good at seeing the signs! We use to say that all the bottom performers would cling to the organization for dear life! Hey, where else were they going? Sounds mean, but ask anyone who has had to downsize or reorganize an organization with a large company…the size of a Covidien for instance.
5. Your company is fine but a new CEO or President has come in and he is there to change the culture; out with old and in with the new. You know what side of the fence you are on, right?
6. You hit the President’s Award and you know it isn’t going to be easy to repeat it in that company (maybe due to the company’s contract loses or local competitive conditions) and you decide to spring board the win right away to a better opportunity. This is a VERY smart move by the way, especially for repeat President Award Winners who know how to crank the sales numbers and they just know when something is headed downhill!
7. Your commission plan or base has been clearly reduced and it is going to affect your earnings not only next year, but probably every year after that. Watch management trying to sell a junky commission plan REAL hard to the sales force by using questionable commission-earning examples of “representative A” hitting quota and “representative B” exceeding quota. This is where top sales performers stampede to the exit door the minute the sales meeting is over….to look for a new job to GET OUT!
So are you having a good run? Is there some “good” still left in your run or do you see the signs that your run may be taking a new turn? Don’t be afraid to be the first one to leave a party; you just never want to be the last one left to turn the lights off.