October 3, 2012

What is That One Thing That will Make You Leave Your Current Job?

This is a question that encompasses the essence of all theories and concepts related to employee retention. In general, why do people join an organization and why they leave it are questions that have bothered many of us since our first job. And in particular, why we joined an organization and left it are questions that are worth exploring for us to take appropriate career decisions.

People may have many reasons to feel happy in their current job but might leave for just "that one thing" which may not be working alright. Based on my experiences here are some of the reasons that might be "that one thing" which makes people leave an organization. These are given in no particular order.
  • The job becomes a drag with no recognition, no clear growth path and a sense of frustration with the prevalent organizational structure. This might be the case when one works in a department of the organization which is seen as a necessary evil and there is lack of visible and active management support to those working in that department.
  • The job falls into rough weather and all growth opportunities are suddenly cut off. This might be the case when one works in a company that gets acquired by another organization and those working in a department are literally run down by those working in the same/similar department of the "acquirer".
  • The job doesn't fit with the current, pressing concerns of the organization. This might be the case when one works in a company (especially an SME) that looses lot of business and some of the departments are shunted out and consequently those working in such departments are shown the door. This is an example of a person leaving involuntarily.
  • The job not only doesn't carry the right designation and title but also the next role one can grow into is simply not there. This might be the case when one works in a certain sub-department of a department in a company where the sub-department is set-up to serve the "career agenda" of the person heading the department. He/she builds the sub-department to achieve some- short and medium-term career objectives and doesn't have any need of the sub-department from a long-term perspective
  • The job carries a fancy title but only in papers and the reporting structure is ill-defined. This might be the case when one works in a company where one department head reports into another department head (the one reporting into the other carries equal level of accountability for meeting the departmental objectives but doesn't have adequate authority). In addition there is a glass ceiling created by the top guy to ensure that no one becomes a part of the team of trusted lieutenants he has put around himself.
  • The job carries a title at par with another person in the department but has superior-subordinate relationship with the other person. This might be the case when one works in a company where organization's real growth is stunted but people still grow (by getting tenure-based promotions). Such a growth may not be for real other than the impression it can create when printed on the business card.

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