I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen so many colleagues leaving the firm. Some people are jumping because of a unique opportunity not available within the firm. Others quit go to a competitor (ouch!). I remember when I made a change to a competitor and there were a whole lot of questions about the why. Part of me just needed a change but I also knew that the firm’s timing wasn’t going to work for me, so I acted accordingly.
Every year consulting firms see a good chunk of people leave in search of greener pastures and every year it seems the people on the receiving end of this news are caught by surprise. I can conclude one of two things: the powers that be are oblivious to the signs or maybe there’s an opportunity for better communication on the part of the recently departed. Let’s assume the latter to be true for the sake of this discussion.
So what is the right way to say you hate the work you’re doing?
Let people know in advance that you want to make a change
The in advance part is key. The reality is client demand and in-flight projects aren’t always the most flexible things. So even with the best intentions, sometimes staying in-house means you have to have a little more patience for the process to run its course. That comes with the territory of working at a large firm with an exorbitant amount of red tape to make decisions.
Develop an actual plan to make the move and then hold people accountable
You ever heard the saying the squeaky wheel gets the grease? In this context, it means if you have an initial conversation with management, leadership, or whatever you want to call the decision makers and get them to agree on making things work for you, you need to keep applying pressure or that deal may fall off the radar. Make them be accountable.
If you’re in regular communication with the decision makers and they don’t hold up their end of the deal, then you can feel good making a move elsewhere, probably with an open door to come back in the future. This works because people recognize when they’ve had the chance to do right by you, so if they don’t keep up their end of the deal, they should not be surprised when you decide to make a move.
My advice to you
If people are trying to work with you to accommodate your career goals, you should think twice before committing to rebuilding your network from scratch, which is effectively the decision with any job change. If people don’t want to take you seriously, then fire away and don’t look back.