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  • Can the Corporate Brain Drain Be Reversed?

    shutterstock_95536147A few weeks ago, a close relative of mine (a Gen Xer)  resigned his $130,000 a year job. He is a software architect, a profession in short supply.

    Why did he resign his job? Here are a few reasons: He felt the company management was dysfunctional; the company was milking an antiquated technology; the product that was supposed to be the “next generation” and would save the company was going nowhere; there was not future; he wanted to work on a product of his own that was more interesting and potentially more rewarding.

    Then, last week, I was in a meeting with another Gen Xer I had never met before. At lunch she told me that, even though things are going extremely well and there are great opportunities for her, she plans to quit her job soon.

    Why does she plan to resign her job? Here are a few reasons: She realizes that she has no passion for what she is doing; she took the job because a friend needed help and now she feels stuck; she wants to find something that will better align with her interests, even though she is not sure what they are.

    I saw this in my corporate career many years before. The most talented and motivated get frustrated in corporate organizations. They end up leaving because, other than a paycheck, their employers are failing to fulfill a reasonable percentage of their needs.

    And that’s OK with most corporations. They don’t even follow HR best practices and conduct “exit interviews”. If they did, they would learn from their management mistakes. But, they don’t.

    Instead, they increasingly are moving to reconfigure their work into packages that will allow them to engage 1099 short-term or part-time workers.

    So, as my might surmise, my answer to the question posed in the title to this post is “no”.

    And what does this have to do with you?

    The concept of a 40 hour work week with X weeks of vacation, a comfortable retirement, good benefits, a great savings plan, and job security is (for most of the population) ancient history. The average employment tenure with a single company is now two to three years. Loyalty to an employer is more of a liability than an asset. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    As I mention in Chapter 17 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

    “there has not been a more logical time in many people’s lifetimes to weigh the merits of all their career options”

    If you are unhappy in your current employer but want to continue to work in a corporation, then start looking for a new job as early as possible. When you find what you want, then quit. If you are unhappy in your current employer and want to do something independently (such as contract work or starting your own company or buying a franchise), then start now to develop a plan for doing that.

    In the 21st century, employers tend to punish loyalty rather than reward it. Don’t be misled by rhetoric. Action speaks louder than words. Watch what your corporate management does, not what they say.

    You can have the career you want. But, you need to take control, make reasonable plans, and take action. You can do it. Make it happen. You’ll be glad you did.


    Richard Kirby is a Vistage Chair, executive coach, and author of the book/eBook Fast Track Your Job Search. He helps business owners improve their business operations' financial performance and helps individuals improve their career financial performance. Richard is a Board Certified Coach (BCC) in career coaching and an ISO-recognized Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

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    Posted in Career Development, Job Search, Personal Branding, Workplace Success
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