Is It Time To Leave Your Company?

Part of managing your career is to keep a close eye on what’s going on in your company.  By keeping current with the health of your organization and industry trends, you will know in advance the things that could potentially affect your job.  


There are many people who ignore the indicators that their jobs could be in jeopardy, only to find themselves among the masses looking for work.  In hindsight they wish they had left in the early stages of the warning signs. 


Here’s our Take Five on when it may be time to leave a company:


  1. Downturn in Your Industry – We’ve all seen what’s happened in financial services.  While this is an extreme situation that no one could have foreseen, there are frequently telltale signs when an industry is having problems. Clearly, if a giant in the industry is suffering, it’s only a matter of time before the others follow suit.  Stay informed on the latest news in your industry.  Read Fortune, WSJ, etc., to learn what the analysts are saying and predicting.  If all sources are predicting the same dire future, you may want to consider changing industries.  Long term factors negatively affecting your category will not change any time soon.
  2. Company is Acquired – Some people make the mistake of waiting to see how things shake out after the transition has occurred.  The danger is that your role may be eliminated due to duplication.  Once it is imminent that your company will be acquired, it’s smart to be proactive and start exploring your options.
  3. Key Customers Leave – Customers are a bellwether for the health of your company.  When key customers start bailing and they are not replaced, it’s easy to do the math.  Losing significant revenue will start having an adverse effect on the company, which will eventually have an impact on your job.
  4. Key Initiatives & Budget Cuts – It’s one thing if your company has moved into a different strategic direction, it’s quite another when they pull the plug on  projects that are key to the company’s future growth.  What might seem like stagnation is actually losing ground.  On a smaller scale, you may have just received word that your marketing budget has been cut.  If you are witnessing cuts across all departments, it’s a sign that the company is tightening its belt which may be a precursor to layoffs. 
  5. Senior Management Exits – First your CFO resigned, then the CEO took a position in another company and a bunch of VP’s with them.  You would be amazed at how many people will stay in a company with this kind of siren warning.  When senior management starts exiting, the writing is on the wall. 

There are many reasons why people ignore the signs of when they need to look outside their current company.  Some believe things might turn around and hope for the best.  Others are in denial and keep their heads in the sand or feel it may be premature to start looking until the dust has settled.  If you are sensing the company may be changing and that your job may be on the line, take the initiative and start the process of exploring your options.  If it turns out your job is still secure, you will at the very least know more about your options outside the company, even if you don’t need them now.

Copyright 2008 Whelan Stone. All rights reserved.

Whelan Stone


About whelanstone

I'm originally from New York - lost my accent when I moved down to Florida - and made San Francisco my home in 1985. I've been recruiting & coaching for 12 years, with the best partner (Fred) you could ask for, and love what I do. When I'm not busy working I write screenplays (haven't sold one yet) and travel - Morocco this past summer was fantastic. Fred and I started this blog because we wanted to share what we've learned along the way. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we do writing it.
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