You Should Quit Your Job
How to move on and be unafraid, from a pro.
What is good David’s habibis? David’s babies? David’s whatever-davidism-hes-saying-now?
When David asked me if I was interested in writing a piece for The Jackal while he was on Paternity leave, I was honored. But at the same time, I was also very concerned about David’s brain. He, along with Barack Obama, follows me on Twitter and knows I’m amused by the most childish things. David, one of the most gifted communicators I know, asked me to tarnish his beautiful web archived masterpiece with the swirling thoughts that float through my conscious like Covid air droplets at a Michigan elementary school anti-mask protest that used kids as pawns.
I’ve thought a lot about his motive, especially as he asked me to follow a genius Epidemiologist who actually works for the CDC. Did he want an opportunity to formally “edit” me? Is he trying to pull some genius out of me? Does he see himself as some sort of Kristoff and me his Truman? Perhaps he sees me as a version of Donald Trump Jr. being asked to write for some obscure alt-right David Duke financed Angelfire page littered with MyPillow™ and off-brand, over-the-counter-at-home-catheter advertisements. At the end of the day, he’s either hard up for smart friends or he’s jealous I’ve surpassed him at The Art of the Cocktail™ and this is his sick way of exacting his revenge.
There’s a lot I want to write about, most of which I’m not qualified to write about. If you’re a regular reader of The Jackal, you come here for David’s ability to communicate really complicated topics in a succinct way. I can talk about three topics with the utmost confidence and certainty, compared to David’s 300+ topics.
The Detroit Red Wings
How JT was short and Michigan should have beat Ohio State in 2016 which altered the course of both programs for a decade
Why people leave jobs
While I’d love to write about my Evangelical upbringing, Trump as an Evangelist for Evangelicalism, the dark swirling category five hurricane that is our current society, a Post-Truth America, the Dangers of Fox News and Tucker Carlson, and the broken relationships within families and friendships as a result of the Trump Era and Covid, I’m not going to. My wife and I have a podcast where we talk about a lot of these topics should you have interest (we’re in the middle of a short break, new episodes coming soon!) in hearing more about these topics from my point of view.
Today I’ve decided to write about Why People Leave Jobs. I started working in Executive Search in 2012, and in 2013, I started an Executive Search firm, Harrison Gray Search and Consulting, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since then, we have helped hundreds of professionals find new jobs. I personally specialize in the C-Suite, Wealth Management, Insurance, and Sales. Our company overall focuses on a number of specializations, and we have a team of Search Professionals who are skilled at helping people navigate the sometimes rocky waters of a career change.
I talk to hundreds of people a week about changing jobs. Most of which, I cold call. Yes, cold call. For some, the world of Executive Search is foreign, similar to the dialect in which David speaks. Here is, in a nutshell, what I do:
A client calls me and tells me they need a person with X experience with Y skills at a Z pricepoint.
I utilize my network to figure out if I already know this person, and if I don’t, I jump on the phone targeting people who work for my clients’ competitors.
The overwhelming majority of people I recruit are not “looking” for a job at the time I called them. They didn’t apply online. They weren’t at a lame networking event handing out small, 1.5x3 inch dead trees with their contact information. They were simply sitting at their desk, doing their job when this assassin called them.
Most calls go like this:
“Hi, thanks for taking my call. My name is Adam Kail, and I’m an Executive Recruiter. A client of mine is looking for a Sales Leader, and I thought you’d be a great match.”
“Are you a headhunter? I’m sorry is that offensive?”
“Yes, I’m a headhunter and no, that doesn’t offend me.” (In 2021, it takes a lot to really bother me. This, for example, really bothers me.)
“I’m happy where I’m at.”
“Great. Almost every candidate I place is happy where they’re at. You’re exactly who I’m looking for.”
“Okay, I’m listening.”
Do you see what happened there? The candidate went from “I’m happy where I’m at” (which is a classic deflection) to “Okay, I’m listening.” What caused the candidate to change so abruptly? It’s really nothing I said, to be honest. This person was already thinking about making a move subconsciously. Most likely, they’ve never admitted it aloud until this moment. Maybe you’re reading this and are in a similar mindset. “I’m happy where I’m at, but maybe I would consider something else.” Briefly, I’m going to share the three main reasons why I see most people make a career change. And if you’re considering a career change, hopefully, this helps.
The most common reason people leave their jobs is because of some sort of leadership issue. Most of the time, it’s not that leaders are abysmal, but they’re not actively doing the work of helping people on their team grow professionally. 99% of candidates I talk to just want clear, reasonable, and achievable goals, clear communication on their standing on the team/in the company, and feedback on what professional development/growth they need to advance in that team or company. It’s frankly that simple, and yet a majority of leaders don’t offer such leadership. Solid leaders are looking for ways to grow themselves, admit they don’t know it all, can communicate effectively, and have empathy for their employee’s desires and goals. Find a leader like that and stick close (also, employees of such leaders are nearly impossible to recruit). For additional reading, feel free to check out Forbes 15 Ways To Identify Bad Leadership.
Some would argue that if you have a good leader you probably have a good culture. Those people are as wrong as this dude.
Culture isn’t just about leadership (though that plays a significant role!). It’s about the type of people you bring into your culture, and how you steward that culture. Example: I hire for culture before I hire for skill. Every single time. If the world’s best recruiter is sitting in front of me, and yet the idea of sitting next to them at an airport bar gives me anxiety, I will not offer them a job. People want to belong to a place that they have shared values with and values that actually matter and mean something. For example, 88.523% of all company’s have “Do the right thing” or “Integrity” as a core value. Why is this a value? Shouldn’t this be essential to being a great company / great group of people? Also, if your company has more than 3 values, I’d bet that a majority of employees couldn’t recite what they are.
Good cultures have simple, effective values that are translatable and are part of the core vernacular of the company. At Harrison Gray Search, our values are:
Bring Your Best (we’re all people with lives, and some days are better than others. Bring the best version of yourself every day)
Good Grow Slow (Rome wasn’t built in a day. Great companies aren’t either. It takes the same, often boring, repetitive work day in day out to do something truly great)
We Win Together (Most of our team is siloed sales individuals, but we have a mentality that celebrates success and all wins, regardless if it affects you or not)
And that’s it! Everyone in our company knows and recites these values daily. They’re also the first thing people see when they walk in each day.
If you are in a poor culture, even with a good leader, you’re still at risk to leave where you’re at (and you probably should!).
“Wait, Adam! I thought money would be #3!” I rarely see people want to leave where they’re at for more money. I mean, the standard pay in raise I see is 11% when someone leaves a job for another. But oftentimes, I talk to people who would be willing to make a move for the same pay (sometimes lower!) for better leadership, better culture, and more flexibility.
When I say flexibility, I’m talking about a company recognizing that people are people and not robots and or mindless flesh drones built by Russians. At Harrison Gray, we cannot compete with many large companies on benefits, pay, 401k contributions, etc. But we can compete (and beat) with them on being a human company. We pride ourselves as a Family First organization. People are encouraged to be present for their families whether that’s during work hours or not. We allow people to work remotely if needed and don’t track vacation time for our senior team members. We understand that people work to live, and we encourage people live as much as possible. If more companies understood the ROI on this simple concept, they’d put me out of business as people really just wanted to be treated like people.
And there you have it! If more companies did a better job on these three areas, I’d be out of business! If you’ve started to feel a lack of connection at your current employer, hopefully the points above help you think through a potential decision a bit more. If you’d like to follow up / connect with me to chat more, feel free to reach out here.
Instead of suggesting “should reads” as David does, I figured I’d offer some reads you should avoid. I’ve read them so you don’t have to. I just saved you an hour or two.
Anything from CNN’s Chris Cilizza is akin to cleaning a newborn baby’s diaper (Hi, David), but this was especially stupid: If Joe Biden Fails This Week, His Entire Domestic Agenda Is Done For At Least 15 Months.
Similar to Cilizza, Matt Walsh has a small family of rabid, mutant mice living in his head where his brain should be. I’d avoid reading anything from Walsh, but in 2014 (when he was more of a Chrisitan-Worldview-Commentator) he wrote an article (which I believe he deleted) on why depression isn’t a choice but suicide is. Here’s a follow-up article he wrote on it that you should not read because again, the uncool rodent version of the Ninja Turtles is housed in his cranium.
Thanks, David, for giving me this opportunity! I appreciate everyone reading this far and hope you found it helpful (or at least enjoyed the hyperlinks!).