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back to article When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

My despair as El Reg's resident job expert is that you people sometimes can’t even follow basic simple advice. For example, when I wrote about pay cuts, some arts grad commented that he’d immediately quit. I shall type this slowly so you understand: You... quit... when... it... suits... you. Not out of spite, not for revenge, …

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Anonymous Coward

simply cannot agree with the author:

i can quit for any reason i want.

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Anonymous Coward

I have to say the Author does come across as a bit of a tosser. No idea whether his advice is valid or not, it just comes across as 'I'm so great, do what I say' or you life will be ruined. Which I find irritating.

TD;DR

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JDX
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It's almost like he thinks he knows more about the recruitment world than we do.

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Anonymous Coward

He does indeed, but that doesn't affect the validity of his arguments. I've been on both sides of this, and agree with the points made completely.

Sure, you can quit whenever you want to, but if your choice of when and how deliberately makes it difficult for yourself to work again, you've got to question your motives for quitting.

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He may well know more about the recruitment world (although, where is the required citation as to his credentials!), but his use of 'my way or the highway' and his way of presenting it does rankle.

And since when does knowing about stuff stop people commenting here that they are talking bollocks?

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@AC (OP)

Learn to read. No -one is saying you can't walk for whatever reason you choose merely how it will be interpretted by potential employers.

Think you can explain at interrview? Think again, as most likely you won't get the chance to as the red flags will be waving.

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Give the guy a break. He may come across as being very positive about himself, but that's the nature of someone in sales.

Look at all them from Dragons' Den. They're all shameless self-promoters - the guy who made his money from chocolates, the guy with the beard. They're all at it. Then there's the most shameless self-promoter of all: Alan Sugar.

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Surely the brash style is deliberate... he wants to make it very clear that he is not writing about what is right or wrong, how things should happen, or what he likes or dislikes about the world of recruitment, only the facts about the system so you can play it to your advantage.

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recruitment consultant? Tosser?......

......You'll be telling us that Ursine mammals defecate in arboreous areas next.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh look, yet another subject upon which the Reg's commentators have more skills than the experts in that subject. It's not anything to do with not knowing enough about the subject to understand that you don't know enough to comment, oh no, I'm sure you know best.

It is a strength to realise that you have areas in which you've not got expertise and listen to experts, not a weakness.

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@ AC 12:11 GMT

I hope you don't have any plans of running for office with that attitude.

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Anonymous Coward

While I normally agree with the author - and you are getting negged to buggery I can only agree.

People should remember you can quit whenever you like, for whatever reason they like. I've done it, sometimes on a whim and sometimes out of spite - but always when I thought it suited me best rather than the company.

If you can't cover up the gaps in your CV with something convincing; death of a pet, an unfortunate accident doing something exciting, working for a company that's sadly no longer with us then you really deserve to remain a wage slave.

The rest of the article seems to be focussed on keeping a tight grip on the greasy pole. Good luck to you if that's the game you want to play. But it really isn't compulsory.

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Not my job to be liked

My job is to tell it like it is.

I could try harder to be liked, maybe you'd like my next piece to have fluffy kittens ?

There's plenty of happy clappy advice out there, feel free to read it in the dole queue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not my job to be liked

> maybe you'd like my next piece to have fluffy kittens ?

Hmm, interesting idea. I can't seem them surviving to the end, though... how about a competition between the resident cynics of el Reg: Dominic vs. Stob va BOFH on the subject of fluffy kittens in IT, that should brighten up a Friday.

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Re: Not my job to be liked

"maybe you'd like my next piece to have fluffy kittens ?"

Only if they are going in a blender. Then I'm interested.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dominic's advice is nutritious

... wolf it down while you can.

I have some experience in recruitment and I would roundly agree with the sentiment of his words.

Thanks man. Look forward to more of it.

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Re: Not my job to be liked

Actually the Reg politburo and I are discussing a sort of "Reg Careers Live and unplugged" at a secret City pub this July, maybe we do a debate or dissing by rap ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re yet another subject...

There are plenty of Reg articles where I turn to the comments to find out what's really going on, or what it means, from the commenters, but I don't count Dominic's pieces amongst those.

Is it possible that he really gets up the nose of the very people who should be taking notice of what he says?

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Tosser or not, there's always some truth in the article...

I think the question you have to ask is what can I take away from the article.

1) Don't jump ship until you have some place to land.

2) While you may value your skills at X, doesn't mean that other employers will agree.

First, while I think its common sense to always make sure you have an exit strategy.

However, I have to disagree with the author because there are times when your work environment has become so caustic that you just have to leave. Even just to regain your center and focus before moving on to the next big thing.

One thing that would make anyone jump before finding something is when you're doing 100% travel and you can't really interview, and your former employers think that just because your a salaried employee (exempt) that they can expect you to pull a 60+ hour work week for 10 weeks straight.

The second issue is also common sense.

Just because the average salary for a position is X doesn't mean that your skills are at that level or higher. Or that you have enough work experience. (Among other things)

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Anonymous Coward

« i can quit for any reason i want. »

Of course you can.

The question is: what happens next?

One possible answer: maybe you'll need to start capitalising your "I"s sooner than you think.

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Anonymous Coward

"I have to say the Author does come across as a bit of a tosser."

Of course he does. He can afford to.

"No idea whether his advice is valid or not"

I suspect you will feel a bit less "irritated" by it the day you find out whether his advice is valid or not.

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Anonymous Coward

See how easy you can write an article ..

`I have to say' [nothing of value] ..

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knowledgeable yes, annoying and full of himself, also yes

I'd imagine the reason the author gets on peoples tits, is that he speaks like every other agency pond life we have all probably had the misfotune to have to speak to, pander to, and basically hope for a scrap from his table.

Granted this one seems to know what he's talking about, which frankly, puts him in an exclusive group of 1 with his fellow agent scum in my experience.

It's a bit like reading a Dawkins book when he's on a roll:

+ you agree with him, he makes excellent points

- he comes over as a bit of an arsehole, completely full of himself - the odd possible 'convert' is more likely to be wound up by his attitude and stop reading, than listen to him anymore (this is from the experience of gifting his books to friends and family only to be informed they couldn't stand his attitude after a few chapters*)

It's a persona not best suited to persauding the greatest number of people to your point of view imho.

*The Magic Of Reality it like this... he makes a statement at the start about 'this is not about god, no talk about god and athiesm here'... then littered through the book are aside snide comments about the stupid god believers, etc.. does he not realise that this puts certain people off ? he just can't help himself. An otherwise excellent book, remains unread of my mothers bookshelf, as she does want to be preached at like a 5 year old.

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Re: feel free to read it in the dole queue.

I suspect that phrase sums up more problems on either side of the pond than many would believe possible.

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"When to say I quit..."

Rule 1: When you already have something else.

Unfortunately there are too many people who overlook this and manage to get themselves into major problems because of it...

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Re: "When to say I quit..."

Depends really. I quit and went travelling for a year. I had money reserves for year +1. I had no problems finding a new job afterwards and had a good reason (on paper) for quitting. In reality my old job was shite, I hated the company, was paid crap thus manufactured a good way to leave, go on holiday and spend time looking for a new job - all without killing my "appeal".

If you can bullshit your way with a good excuse (and evidence to back it up) then quit when you like.

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Pirate

Re: "When to say I quit..."

Ahh, ShelLuser, it seems you've met my dad. Breaking Rule 1 had the consequence of him going through a 2 year jobless period. It also cost me a full year of suspended studies, as the reserves dried out and there was no more money for college.

Though sometimes you have to break the rule, as I've unfortunately found out. When the old boss gets fired, the new boss starts harassing you and all the projects you're "managing" are being actively sabotaged by your boss, it's better just to pull the 'EJECT' lever and hope for the best. It's that, or have your reputation smeared by your employer's inept approach at project management.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 09.25

"I have to say the Author does come across as a bit of a tosser."

wouldn't necessarily disagree with this, but sadly I think he is just telling it like it actually is...

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Re: @AC 09.25

This comment reinforces my view (based on his articles in general) that the author is not only a tosser, but lacks self awareness:

In my OS/2 article I shared how a team member was so outraged by my comment that he hit me, which might be taken as evidence that I didn’t have the best time.

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Re: @AC 09.25

Agreed.

It's the difference between prescriptive i.e. how we think the world ought to be (all religions) and descriptive i.e. how world actually is. There is usually a big gap between the two, with many of us transposing the two based upon our own world-view.

I do like Dominic's brash style because it cuts through all the bullshit. As painful as it is to hear the reality, we have to accept that the world (mostly) operates in accordance with this modus operandus.

I've generally found the more corporate the company, the more the game applies. I've also found that 24 months in such an environment is usually my limit at any one time.

FWIW, I've quit on a couple of occasions when I haven't had an immediate role to step into. The key is to know why you are quitting, and to have enough cash to tide you over whilst you either do something else and/or tide you over whilst you are looking for another role. You should have already anticipated and prepared a convincing answer for any career gaps on your CV when they will be brought up during any interviews.

I do concede that the correct way to quit is - as Dominic quietly rightly states - on your own terms, with another role lined up. However, given the myopic nature of most corporate environments, a tactic that I always state as shall follow (but fail to follow through) is to update one's CV every 3 months, so when you do spot the icebergs looming ahead, you are well prepared and can evaluate one's (potential) exit strategy, if need be.

It seems facile to say, but one's range of options is determined by one's personal circumstances (savings, family, mortgage, yada yada yada). The principal message remains: be pro-active in developing and managing one's potential exit strategy. I've had a mixture of good fortune in the past (chance favours the prepared mind, and all that), but I have been single, no debt (mortgage) and have had savings. Yet, I have also frequently squandered opportunities and been too lax and lazy in following through after I've spotted warning signs (no senior management follow-through, changes in board / senior mangement, constant re-structures, colleagues exiting the business, etc).

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Megaphone

"every time you change jobs there is a risk of making a catastrophic mistake"

Especially when it's the recruiter who has lied to you about the stability of the company, about how much they will in the end offer and about what has happened to previous employees and the teams they were in.

Clearly, those representing the company, trying to get you to join, tell the same lies. It's hard to resist when this is coming at you from both sides.

In all my years in the game, I have found 2, maybe 3, recruiters I trust, 1 that I definitely don't, and all the others I view with extreme skepticism, not to say cynicism!

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Re: "every time you change jobs there is a risk of making a catastrophic mistake"

'In all my years in the game, I have found 2, maybe 3, recruiters I trust, 1 that I definitely don't, and all the others I view with extreme skepticism, not to say cynicism!'

You've been lucky. I've dealt with > 10. Not a single human being among them. Modern day slave traders. Falling into the same category as Estate Agents, Traffic Wardens, double glazing salesman, candidates on the TV programme 'The Apprentice' and similar parasites.

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Caveat Emptor

I've read Mr. Connor's take on matters with great amusement in the past, but being a professional contractor with about 25 years of experience under my belt (albeit in a different sector) I'd like to issue some friendly warnings :

1. The bulk of HR people ar wholly incompetent and generally have no idea whatsoever about what's an actual job requirement or what the work descritptions acually mean. The just know how to but a few keywords in a text search box to scan CV's.

2. They are just as competent or incompetent as any cross section of the population. It's a gauss curve. Which means 20% are utterly useless, 60% are adequate and therefor not good enough to weed out the top 20% of candidates, and only 20% function on a ;level competent enough to actually do their job above and beyond.

3. For the bulk of recruiting firms : see 1.

4. Things only work as Mr. Connor describes if the HR bods subscribe to the same philosophy as Mr. Connor. However, most of them can't even write 'philosophy' properly.

4. If you have to work for a British manager things are often a lot worse than anywhere else. What passes for a 'manager' in the UK is often someone of ill-tempered, bad mannered and generally boorish conduct.

5. If you feel you must walk, walk.

6. All this 'they may need you more than you think' lark is usually hampered by managers being on the wrong side of the Peter Principle curve. They feel pressured by an employee and react viscerally to being put on the spot. There is NO sure-fire way to determine if your argument, however well constructed, is going to generate the logical response you have imagined it will.

7. Be careful withthis one : some people treat you like crap because they are under the false impression you will not break their face because you are civilized, and all the reasons why they regularly had beaten the crap out of them on high school no longer hold true. And that they therefor can insult you, your parentage and your offspring as much as they like. This is blatently untrue. At least it is with me. There is a line. It is not a fine one. It is big, wide, brash in fluorecent colours lit by 10 kW floodlights. Don't cross it. It will be very painful.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

Well measured response. but I would like to add one more tiem:

8. Beware of injelititis: managers who have a combination of a large degree of incompetence and a similarly large degree of jealousy, a combination known as injelitance. Injelitant people in managerial roles cause a disease called injelitis. These people actually prefer to have a third-rate team, because they know deep down in their hearts they themselves are second-rate at best. Do not think you can single-handedly change the course of such a department (key words to watch: "Yes, mr. X is brilliant, but mr. Y is more sound"). Abandon such departments at warp speed.

See: C. Northcote Parkinson: Parkinson's Law, or the Pursuit of Progress.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Caveat Emptor

I agree entirely about British managers. I've worked all over Europe and on average I found the worst managers to be based in Britain, the best in Swizerland, IMHO. I have worked for some extremely good managers in the UK, but the average manager here is woeful.

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Anonymous Coward

Injelitis

So it does have a name! That's why I quit my last job. Unfortunately, it wasn't just the manager, but the actual Top Man in the company also suffered this. He axed the competent managers and put the injelitance-enhanced people on managerial positions. My own departure didn't take long.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

Go on, reread the article. You are suggesting that HR bods are lacking in a competency that O'Connor implies they are not even required to have.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

I agree about British managers. I worked in Sweden for many years, where 75% of managers have a technical or science degree, and are fully numerate - they do the calculations on every business decision, very little is decided on dogma or fashion. I've seen the stats on British managers - less than 50% have education as high as A-levels. In my experience, they are selected to be wilfully ignorant bullies.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

It's interesting to talk to HR and hear what they are told their job is, quite different from what staff believe.

"protecting management from the staff" is how one senior HR described it to me.

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Re: "protecting management from the staff"

Not quite. It's to be able to turn on a dime from that to protecting the staff and back again. All while following the dictates from the trolls in accounting to protect the bottom line. If it was only "protecting management from staff" it would be possible to determine a probably logical strategy and be able to work with or around it. When it's a constantly changing job description, that is quite impossible.

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Boffin

@Peter Re: Caveat Emptor

7. Be careful withthis one : some people treat you like crap because they are under the false impression you will not break their face because you are civilized, and all the reasons why they regularly had beaten the crap out of them on high school no longer hold true. And that they therefor can insult you, your parentage and your offspring as much as they like. This is blatently untrue. At least it is with me. There is a line. It is not a fine one. It is big, wide, brash in fluorecent colours lit by 10 kW floodlights. Don't cross it. It will be very painful.

-=-

Most bad managers are bad because they have never learned or were taught on how to be a good manager. More than likely they were just tossed in to the role and told sink or swim.

There are those who are bullies, those who think that knowledge is power, and those who misinterpret Machiavelli. And of course the worst kind are those managers who actually thrive on the conflict.

If you are at the point of wanting to get physical, step back and walk away. Leave your job immediately.

This is what I meant by a caustic environment.

Remember that there is this thing called karma, and she's a bitch.

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@Tom Re: "protecting management from the staff"

Dominic is right on this one.

HR exists to protect the company. When they seem to be on the side of the employee, it's to make sure that they are in compliance with labor laws.

Overall, they are incompetent. Not to be trusted.

They don't know what real work means.

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Checkout your new company . . .

. . . before you jump - do some lookups e.g. duedil.com

Amazing what you can find there, especially with smaller companies which are not so well known.

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'a clear sign is an increase in the formality of the way your work is assigned, in emails or even bits of paper, rather than simply being asked.'

Whilst true enough the comparison with the civil service made me laugh. Getting something with 'pl dl' (please deal) was a backhanded compliment in that it meant you were 'sound' enough not to require a 'steer' on how to handle the task.

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He's smart, knows his subject and is not shy about telling you he does.

Which I suspect makes him about as easy for you to deal with as some of you are to deal with by your respective managements.

You would, perhaps prefer a "smoother," more self effacing presentation? More British self deprecation?

Guess what, so would your management.

But you tell it like it is and your PHB starts blubbing ("Why is the nasty man being so horrid to me?")

So if you agree with what he says, but don't like how he says it, perhaps you might ask yourself if your way is any better?

On the whole I rather like his approach.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's smart, knows his subject and is not shy about telling you he does.

Personally I like his style. I work in the world of finance so you learn to deal with attitude and look beyond to see whether it's backed up by competence or if it's a thick veneer of egotistical bullshit as is so often the case both in the business and IT. He tells it like it is and that appeals to me as it's to the point. You do find that there are some delicate little flowers around though - I'm not talking about lack of manners but how some in the trade seemingly need to be spoken to via a negotiator and treated like the most princessly of princesses.

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This author says it how it is

A lot of people seem to bitch about this author - but the reality of what he says is mostly true and what I've experienced as a contractor.

Hell - anybody who thinks Computer Science graduates are a waste of time if they haven't studied C or C++ is a genius by comparison with most techhies these days (sad to say).

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Stop

The only way to get a pay rise...

...is to change jobs, as any fule kno.

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Stop

Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

well I put a proposal forwards and got my pay rise after meeting objectives on my annual appraisal.

Odd I know.

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