Exit Plans: Know How To Leave a Job

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Exit plans : Do you have one?

Think of a time when you accepted a job knowing that it wasn’t the right job, but it was “A” job that at least meant income was coming in.

During the recession, this was the reality of many people’s job searches.  Jobs were scarce and they were struggling to find work.. a job, any job.

But even if you were one of the lucky ones who landed a job that was actually within your target parameters, smart career managers had already hatched their exit plans for their new job.

So this begs the question: why on earth would anyone plan on leaving a job right after landing it?

Let’s put exit plans into perspective.

Emergency managers and first responders are trained to have their necessary tools ready to go at a moment’s notice. They already have thought about what they need to do in terms of decision making when faced with a quickly changing scenario.

You should, too.

Exit plans don’t mean that you are already rubbing your hands in glee thinking about how you are going to tell a boss “sayonara”… it’s more about thinking for the future.

Wikipedia has a great definition of exit plans: “An exit strategy is a means of leaving one’s current situation, either after a predetermined objective has been achieved, or as a strategy to mitigate failure.[1][2] An organisation or individual without an exit strategy may be in a quagmire. At worst, an exit strategy will save face; at best, an exit strategy will peg a withdrawal to the achievement of an objective worth more than the cost of continued involvement.”

Amen.

Too many times, workers get bogged down into quagmires that ends up costing them both physically and mentally. Or they are so focused on what’s directly in front of them that they fail to see the big picture… and opportunity that leads to their goals passes them by.

Some things to take into account when developing exit plans:

1) What is my career goal?

2) How is the new job helping me get to that career goal?

3) At what point will I feel that I’ve reached my potential at this company / job?

4) Does this job give me the salary that I need / feel that I deserve?

5) Does this job offer me the professional development I need to grow in my career and achieve the target goals?

6) Does the culture where I am working feel comfortable and empowered?

6) What organizations should I belong to in order to advance my career goals?

7) What skills / knowledge do I need to add to enhance my expertise to achieve my career goals?

8) What is the deciding factor where I feel like the cost of the job is greater than the benefit?

Answering these questions can help you determine exit plans – but it does require some honest introspection.  You need to be clear on what you want, what you need to do to get there, and the steps you need to take in the interim to eliminate the roadblocks preventing you from achieving those goals.

So take a moment to pack your emergency “go-bag” with the tools you need, and formulate a plan on how you plan to exit a company.

First responders know that having a plan is key to organizing themselves to handle different situations.

What are you doing to make sure you can be ready? Do you have any exit plans?

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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