Few of us have comfort not to worry, or think, of changing a job ever again. If you’re not one of those few, this post is for you.
I have easily gone through way more than a hundred of exit interviews. No, it doesn’t mean that I changed job that many times. This means that so many people left my teams. Nothing to brag about, I guess. Anyway, if there’s a reason for leaving one’s job I’ve heard it. And I’ve heard it from a person who I knew and worked with for quite a while.
Obviously, more often than not I tried hard to keep people around and missed those who decided to leave. This wouldn’t make me an objective adviser at a time. However, from a perspective of time, once what had been about to happen already happened, I believe I can go beyond emotions and biases and be pretty objective.
There’s one thing that I noticed in my attitude when I talk to people about leaving. I feel and act differently when I try to keep on board someone who I believe may be making a good decision than in cases when I’m pretty sure they are making a mistake. While I don’t think any of you would find my feelings even mildly amusing, what is interesting is that my compass seems to be working surprisingly well.
So how the hell do I sense whether changing a job is a good idea or not?
It’s pretty much one thing. What’s more it sounds obvious. Surprisingly enough people very rarely follow the hunch.
It’s all about how values of an organization one is about to join are aligned with their own values.
Yup, that’s it.
I mean, seriously. Ask people what they value. It’s an individual thing so they’d come up with all sorts of stuff, like respect, safety, trust, transparency, challenges, health, happiness, authenticity, quality, learning, perspectives and whatnot. Interestingly, very, very few people I know would say “more money” and in such cases they’d likely have pretty good reason for that (which is fair enough too).
A nice thing is we can get pretty good hints whether these values are respected and embraced at our workplaces-to-be.
“You can’t know” one would say. Well, you can. It’s enough to realize one thing. Every publicly or semi-publicly known action of a company is emanation of how it operates inside. In other words if you want to know what is valued in any given org just pay attention to how that company acts publicly.
Are they worth of trust as a business partner? Why should they be as an employer? Do they care about well-being of their clients? Why should they care about yours? Do they respect any partner they work with? If not, why would you assume their respect would be extended to employees?
I don’t say that without a reason. It’s not a rare occasion when there’s a value match or at least there’s nothing that would indicate the opposite. At the same time I’ve seen way too many bad decisions ignoring the obvious hints. As you may guess it didn’t work very well.
So here’s my advice: ask yourself what is important for you. If an employer-to-be shares the key values with you then go for it. And yes, I do understand that I actually may be encouraging some of my people to look for alternatives. I don’t mind. After all, if I consider myself a leader I should care about well-being of my team, shouldn’t I?
At the same time if your employer-to-be doesn’t seem to share your values this is a single most powerful signal to take into consideration. It means that the whole setup would suck eventually.
And yes, it’s enough to look at, or ask about, relationships with partners or clients.
It’s all about values and you can’t lie about values. If you are fair to your partners you’re going to be fair to your employees. And vice versa.
Few people would take consider it when thinking about changing a job. Don’t be one of them.