Should I Stay or Should I Go?

stay or go blog pic
A valid question asked at one point in time in our professional or personal lives. Or in some cases, just singing along in the car with The Clash on the way to office will suffice, no air guitar performances though, please! Safety first!

I enjoy music. All kinds of music. I grew up studying classical piano so naturally it is engrained in my DNA. Music and lyrics speak volumes and I find situations in my daily life end up with a lyrical reference to a song. Most of my staff conference calls include a song reference, it is just how I roll. Life is a song, so sing it, right?

So, should I stay or should I go? This is a daily discussion that I have with industry professionals at all experience levels. While the market continues to be robust, it brings about many career opportunities especially to those who are not actively looking to make a change. Common questions or concerns arise such as:

Why leave a position where you are happy and enjoy the company and culture?

“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” – As only U2 can eloquently say this, it can be a poignant question or reflection for a professional posed with a career opportunity. Most people truly are happy with the company and the people with whom they work and that is a wonderful thing. When a truthfully amazing opportunity is presented it is a good time for a gut check. Have you found what you are looking for? Is it available in your current role or company? Check your career goal progress and know what you have available and how far out that may be if you stayed in your current role. What, if anything, is holding you back?

Is the position a lateral move or does it offer additional responsibilities? What is the title?

“The Times They Are A Changin” – Thanks to Bob Dylan for that reminder. Everything changes: organizational structures, divisional and regional layers added/removed, company ownership, to name a few. The changes occur due to company merger or acquisition, becoming a publicly traded organization, or succession planning within private companies. When considering another career option, it is wise to not focus alone on title but rather overall responsibilities and reporting structures and the type of organization. While a VP of Sales and Marketing title says a lot, the same position with a seemingly lesser title can be just as expansive and more. Does the position report to a divisional department head or directly to the President/CEO? One can often have more direct impact working side by side with the leader of an organization. Likewise, a lateral position move isn’t always a bad option especially with a company of much larger size where many opportunities for promotion and leadership experiences potentially exist. The key is to find out about the company, it’s culture and what the growth opportunities are within without making a blanket assumption that the roll is not of interest. You never know until you explore!

Counter offer? Sure, I’d consider that!

This one is a ringer for The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” or better yet, Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now” could be even more ideal. In my nearly 19 years’ experience of executive search, one thing I do know is that Counter Offers can be a very bad gift wrapped up like a ring box from Tiffany’s. Sure it is pretty and it must be amazing inside, right?

When a company is faced with the resignation of a key employee it is almost a given some sort of counter offer to stay is presented. These offers typically provide a bump in base salary, additional bonus opportunities, or even a promise of promotion. Unfortunately, the acceptance of a counter offer can often lead to a less than positive outcome by lack of further career advancement or worse, termination – but on the company’s terms, not the candidate’s.

If someone would consider going all the way through the process and receive an offer, only to remain in their current role, the question really comes back full circle to those above.

Have you found what you are looking for? Are you where you want to be in your professional career trajectory? If not, consider confidentially speaking with an executive search specialist who can provide on target consulting and insight. You’ll never know until you pick up the phone and say – “Hello.” (Thanks, Adele.)

Written By: Erica Lockwood, Equity Partner