The last couple of weeks has seen the UK as we know it completely change, as people in positions of power in key British institutions handed in their notice. That’s right, we’re talking about Top Gear and the England football team. After a huge shake up last year when we waved goodbye to Hammond, Clarkson and May, and welcomed Chris Evans and Joey from Friends as new presenters, Chris has quit after just six episodes.
Meanwhile, after a rubbish performance in the Euros, England Football manager Roy Hodgson has also quit, packing up his bags and picking up his P45.
Oh, and we have a new PM. Following his Brexit loss, David Cameron’s left his job and handed in his notice to Queen Lizzy, after six years spent running the country.
With all this throwing in the towel going on, we decided to investigate all things quitting. When it’s so flippin’ hard to actually get a job, it can feel a bit weird to think about leaving, but it turns out we actually had a lot of questions. When’s the right time to do it? How long should you stay in the same role? And how can you muster up the courage to tell your boss that you’re moving on? We had a chat with some HR geniuses to figure things out and ask them what we’ve always wanted to know…
When you meet a potential employee, are you looking at how long they spent in their last role?
“There’s no ideal length of service in a previous role, for when you’re looking to take the next step,” says James Kennedy, Head of Managerial and Specialist Resourcing at O2. “Depending on your level of experience and profession, it could take a number of years to gather the right level of aptitude and expertise before you move up a level, or even sideways. I think anything over 12 months is the norm.”
“I don’t think there is a magic number to hit. But without question, anything less than a year will require explanation,” Nancy Lengthorn, Head of Future Talent at MediaCom told us. “Just ensure that explanation displays fairness, positivity and self awareness. No employer wants to sit through a character assassination of the previous employer – that would be a huge red warning flag!”
How long should you stay in an entry level position? No one wants to look like they’re not succeeding, or climbing the ladder!
“I think this really depends on the role,” James told us.”There’s always a rhyme or a reason as to why someone has stayed in the same job for an extended period of time, it could just be that you love your role, or the team you work with, or that you’re enjoying the development you’re getting and still learning.”
“If you are desperately unhappy in a role, don’t suffer endlessly just to ‘clock up’ a polite amount of time,” said Nancy. “Cut your losses and try and turn the experience into a positive. Use the story to evidence how you have dealt with a situation maturely and professionally and how it has helped you develop personally.”
What are the signs that it’s probably time to move on from your current role?
“If you’ve become complacent and stagnant,” says James. “When it’s time to move on it can sometimes be a bit of a gut feel. If you’re very much in your comfort zone and things aren’t too much of a challenge then that’s often the tell-tale sign that you’ve stopped stretching yourself and developing. Someone once told me that you spend the first six months of your job learning the ropes, six months delivering and doing the “doing”, and the next six months exceeding expectations and really pushing boundaries. Once you get to that 3rd stage then it could be time to consider what’s next.”
Do you have any tips for telling your boss that you’re leaving?
“Do it in person if you can!” advises James. “It’s the most amicable and respectful way of delivering that kind of news. Be humble, and be honest. You never know when you’ll bump into a former colleague or manager later in life, so leaving a positive impression, even when it’s handing in your notice, is highly recommended. It will also help when looking to gain references in the future.”
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