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Consequences of Resigning Without a Plan...

June 26, 2009
by Tim Tolan
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So, you are ready to quit your job? Understandable. Been there. That was a few years ago. This is now. Whatever you do please proceed with caution. The days of calling your favorite recruiter to quickly hand pick your next gig and land in a couple of months are not completely over – but they are clearly “on hold’ while we all wait for this market to turn. The timeline for finding a “C” level job is (at least) several quarters based on recent estimates. If you have made the mental and emotional choice to leave your current employer I would like to offer a few suggestions that may seem obvious to most of you.

1. DON’T EVEN THINK about resigning until you have landed another job. Period. Do not pass go – do not let your emotions drive you to leave before you have a written offer and you have accepted. No exceptions. No verbal offers – No promises from a friend or colleague. No-No-No.

2. Reach out to a few trusted peers, colleagues and top notch recruiters to get a “feel for the market”. They usually have their finger on the pulse. Get their assessment of what the market conditions look like and what they might see on the horizon. They would be a good barometer to help narrow your opportunity window as to when you might be able to find a new job.

3. Write down the ideal job you would like to find. Just finding another CIO role is one thing. Finding the ideal culture and leadership team would be at the top of my list. Are you willing to relocate? If so, can you sell your home or, like others are you under water. It doesn’t mean you can’t relocate. However, you may have to consider renting your home until the market conditions improve. Not the end of the world.

4. While you still have pen in hand, write down what you like and what you don’t like about your current situation. Are you being challenged? Is their something wrong with the environment or culture? What is it? Is your CEO a great leader – or not much of a leader at all? If you have been with your current employer for years and years you may be experiencing “burn-out” and mentally you may have already checked out. If so, go back to # 1 on this list and re-read the message.

5. Is it time for you to scale to another C-level position? Having run a large IT organization and a substantial budget may be enough to land a COO opportunity. While it may not be for everyone – it’s certainly an option for career progression. Are you interested in taking your skills to be the CTO of a HCIT vendor organization? The buzz with the Obama stimulus package will clearly create huge opportunities in the HCIT marketplace. Another option to ponder.

6. Finally, have a written plan and make sure you know exactly what you want to do. Clarity is the key. Don’t just leave and change business cards for the sake of leaving. Make sure you are accomplishing your career goals and personal goals as well. Your job should be challenging, and allow to you continue to learn and grow your knowledge and skills. Finally you should have fun in what you do! You work over 2,000 hours each year and you should look forward to waking up every day excited about going to work!

Footnote: Oh, about the professional in the photo above. He, obviously had no plan and did not read and understand Rule # 1. Let’s just hope he likes pizza…

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Comments

Joe:
Conferences and seminars are great. However, I actually recommend career/life one-on-one coaching over seminars. I find them to be much more focused on the individual. Seminars are great - but (huge) life decisions deserve more personal attention. Just my opinion...

Great post Tim. Your comments about being engaged in your work truly resonate. In fact, I have trouble even relating to people who are so easily satisfied with just getting a paycheck and calling it a life. I mean, how can you surrender such a large portion of your existence?

I was at a party this weekend and spoke to someone who did finance work for pension funds. We were having a good chat until he used the "T" word to describe his job — tolerable. Based on this description, I naturally asked him what was going to be the next stop in his career, as I thought the "T" word was severely negative, BUT NOT TO HIM.

"Nothing's next," he said, "Unless I get laid off."

I politely let the conversation run out of gas and headed for the dip. I can respect even the most downtrodden of characters, as long as they want more, are planning for more. Complacency with mediocrity is horrifying.

Nice post, Tim.

There are conferences geared entirely to helping people develop their plan for their next career move (while absolutely keeping their day job until they have received an offer letter)! I've blogged about and am speaking at one offered for physicians called SEAK. (http://seak.com/)

What conferences do you recommend for CXOs, if any, of this type?

Good point. What's the reason for getting up each and every day if you hate what you do. Spend the time to find something you are passionate about and pour your heart and soul into being the best you can be in your field. Set a goal to be in the Top 10% in your area of expertise. Love what you do - or go home!

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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