How to quit a job you like

There are two issues to mitigate when you want to give the bird in the hand for two in the bush:

  1. the risk of failure
  2. the opportunity cost

The risk of failure means that there is no way to be sure you are going to be successful at the new job. Maybe you will, but just as well remember a job is not a cause and effect binary system, is a complex dynamic with many hidden participants. Maybe you won’t fit, maybe they lied at the interview because they’re delusional, maybe the company is governed in a way that will block your success, maybe your colleagues will be assholes. We don’t know.

The opportunity cost means, in this particular situation, that you’re giving up something that works for you, which translates in willingly causing uncertainty in your brain, that will take a toll, no matter what you do: we crave stability.

Both risks can only be mitigated by maximisation of:

  • the offer
  • the terms

Maximise the offer you get to attempt to cover the opportunity cost.
Maximise the agreed terms of your new position to lower the risk of failure.

This might sound pretty simple, but it isn’t.

If you chirp a number you’ve anchored the discusson. At the same time, you can’t just ask a ballpark amount if you really think there is true opportunity ahead.

The terms are the hardest and, in my opinion, neither employees nor employers discuss them or expect to discuss them during the recruitment process. What are my working terms?

I’ve heard questions such as:

  • what is your IDE
  • what framework do you use
  • what is your tech stack

… which are decent chat starters, but don’t matter a bit. I’m sorry, they don’t.

What matters is:

  • what do you expect that will change by hiring me?
  • do you hire me because there is too much work, or do you require some specialised help?
  • what will my role be?
  • will I have KPIs? Which?
  • will I have OKRs? Which?

Each of these questions are terms of employment. Some may not end up in contracts but will end up in notes and agreements. If you’re hunted for a job, they’ll matter a lot for the perception of your success.

So, two birds in the bush, huh? Go 4 it, Ace!