A career choice requires courage and confidence.

In the next 2 years 40% of people in the UK are planning a career change and are already working on their exit plan, and the 47% who do not find their work fulfilling owe it to themselves to consider an escape plan. (First Direct Bank 2018 UK poll of 2,000 people).

Whether it’s an escape plan or an exit plan, both require courage and confidence to execute.

We all have choice but certain things like money, qualifications, skills, experience, mobility, contacts, courage and confidence give us greater choice; whilst the lack of some of these things can make choices harder, it’s often fear that is the most debilitating.

Yet you owe it to yourself, and your long-suffering family and friends who listen to your mumbles and grumbles, to at least define what you really enjoy doing, because if it’s important enough to you then it’s easier to make the choice.

Cliché Warning: Life’s too short to be wasted doing something you don’t enjoy.

Note to Employers – experience tells you that the exit planners tend to be the most able, who you should be looking to retain; and the escape planners tend to be the disengaged and the ones you should be giving wire cutters and shovels to.


The 3 biggest things that stop you leaving

Golden Handcuffs.

25% of people in the poll said they couldn’t afford to leave – so how much do you really need to earn, what are you prepared to sacrifice financially to secure your career change, future happiness and career fulfilment. Or have you accepted that you are there just for the money?

You don’t know where to go. 

Then spend time on a self-audit to understand what you really want to do, the more you put in at this stage, the easier it will be to take decisions later. Importantly, decide whether this is a company change or a career change and start to plan accordingly.

Fear of the future.

After all the time and effort to get yourself into a position where you have an exercisable choice, you fear that the future may be worse than the present and you stay put. Logic will tell you, that you are not the only one that’s been through this thought loop and you won’t be the last. So, find someone you have worked with and who you trust, that has already made a career exit/escape, as there are lessons to be heard from what they did and didn’t do; as well as confidence and connections to be developed.


The next 3 biggest things that stop you leaving:

YOU don’t have time to look for a job – then stay where you are as it can’t be that bad; but one day your boss may hand you a pair of wire cutters and a shovel.

YOU think you’ll never get through the interview process, and hearing about some of the recruitment processes used by some HR departments I’d tend to agree. A friend’s son has just gone through the following interview process for a £20k role: 1st stage online test. 2nd stage classroom test to check the online test. 3rd stage face to face interview. 4th stage one day group assessment. 5th stage face to face interview. 6th stage the offer. But if you’re not in the process you’ll never get to the offer stage. There’s much to be said for the Virgin Trains On-board staff recruitment practice – “here’s my card if you’re ever looking for a change call me; there’s no need for a formal interview I’ve seen everything I need to see in your interaction just then with that difficult customer”.

YOU don’t have enough time or half day holidays left to attend the interview process… then its not important enough to you and the escape plan can wait for another year.

We all have a choice YOU just need the courage and confidence to make it!

Since 2013 I have been helping ambitious SMEs with their Strategic and Leadership challenges.

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Posted in Career Management, Decision Making
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