|Speaking up sometimes is all you need to do|
Wednesday was my last day at the client site. With just a couple hours left, one of the more senior partners in the firm (you could say he’s a made man of sorts if you like mafia lingo) came by to grab my boss for a meeting . Seeing me prompted him to ask if this was my last week, which turned into a conversation I didn’t expect, and while it didn’t change the outcome of my decision, there was a reminder of a lesson that we sometimes forget:
people MIGHT be able to help your situation if you speak up, but they definitely can’t if you don’t say anything. Simple but incredibly important.
Don’t Make Assumptions About What People Care About
The reason why I didn’t expect this conversation is because I made an assumption about the availability of this partner that turned out to be completely invalid. I ruled him out as a potential resource because I viewed him as too busy i.e. on site less than one day a week and responsible for managing several high-level initiatives way more important than helping me figure out what I’m doing with my life. At least so I thought. As it turns out, he was more than willing to make noise on my behalf all the way up to the leader of our consulting practice if that’s what it took to help me out and keep me with the firm.
Again, I’m not sure if we had this conversation earlier it would’ve changed the outcome but it would’ve been nice to have that data point as part of the decision making process.
Utilize Every Card At your Disposal
In this business, it’s hard to tell who’ll REALLY go to bat for you unless you ask. After sending out the obligatory “farewell email,” several supportive responses came back from people that I didn’t work with for extended periods of time but we developed a rapport. Reach out to these people because those interactions, however brief, trigger emotional responses that get people to fight for your cause.
Double Check Your Facts With People On The Front Line
In this case, some of my “facts” were questioned. While I still stand by my assessment of this particular situation, it highlights important point. You need to double and triple check your facts with the people closest to the situation you need to assess. If you extrapolate details without having the full story, you run the risk of making a career-changing decision that you’ll regret later.
The bottom line here is that you want to give yourself as many options and as much information as possible to figure out that next big move in your career. Your current employer will appreciate it and you may be surprised with the end result.
How have you handled communicating your thinking about leaving a company (professional service or industry)? Let me know in the comments below!