Everyone knows a story about a smart and talented project professional who has lost his or her passion for a role, who no longer looks forward to going to the office yet remains stuck without a visible way out. Getting on the project management career ladder is a great thing, you start off at the bottom and work your way up, but sometimes you can get stuck and not even realise it.

One in Five Employees Claim They Were Mis-sold Opportunities When They Joined Their Organisation – Kelly Global Workforce Index (Kgwi)

Commenting on the findings, Debbie Pettingill, Director, Kelly Services UK and Ireland said

“Employee retention will become an increasing challenge for employers as we move out of the recession. As we move into a more candidate driven market, this trend is likely to accelerate. Our findings indicate that this problem is being exacerbated by the misrepresentation of job role or company culture at the interview stage, leading to the dissatisfaction of new hires.”

Most of us know what we are trying to escape a “mis-sold” job resulting in a narrowly defined career, inauthentic or unstimulating work, numbing corporate politics, and perhaps blackmail including direct threats of being used as a scapegoat for future project failures if you leave. One may ring true for some of you.

Fewer than Half of Uk Employees Are Happy with the Way Their Careers Are Progressing According to New British Research

Why Would A Company or Person Block Your Move?

Well, this could be because of his or hers personal insecurity i.e. as the project team works well, why rock the boat? Comfort zone: sometimes the sponsor or team gets too comfortable? Golden child syndrome: you’re working your butt off and your sponsor or other senior is reaping the recognition from your amazing deliverables?

What Can You Do About it?

Don’t fret, you can handover your work or completely leave the organisation and still stay sane. You might worry that announcing your intentions will cause your client grief, but ultimately you have to do what’s best for you no matter what Mr or Mrs. X thinks.

However, think long and hard about how you’re going to drop this bombshell as you will need to give notice. A sound method and the skill to put it into practice are required to overcome the assault and possible backlash.

So how are you going to approach it? What’s your reasoning going to be?  How are you going to get them to understand exactly why you’re doing this?  What do you need to do in order to prepare for the big day?

Easy, you’re going to read this guide.

Strategy 1 – Remote Working Arrangement

This could be a great approach if 80% of your work can be undertaken remotely. However, while there is a very logical argument to be made in favor of working from home, many people equate remote work to a lack of productivity and laziness. These people do not realise that the switch from an office to working from home can actually lead to significant increases in productivity.

Strategy 2 – What’s in It for Me?

What’s in it for me?  That questions sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it? Maybe you aren’t being compensated fairly, or you’re not happy with the effort vs return. When you know your client and team needs you and you’re willing to stay for a price, don’t mess around.  Give them the real number or offer that will make it worth your while to stick it out for awhile.

Strategy 3 – The Budget Cut

The re-structuring.  The downsizing.  The dreaded budget cut.  Whatever name you want to give it, this can be terrifying for a lot of project professionals. However, if your already thinking about leaving, then maybe it doesn’t have to be such a scary thing.  In fact, maybe it can be extremely positive for both parties.

Strategy 4 – The Ease Out

Still feeling weary about leaving the Organisation or handing over a project. Propose easing yourself out of the post.  Pick a time frame, maybe 4 weeks or so, and come up with a plan for slowly taking yourself out of the position. This also allows you some time to slowly ramp down your time commitment on the old project / role.

Strategy 5 –Burning Bridges in the Industry 

Sometimes it’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges – but remembering to draw line where you must

There’s no harm in an early exit from a project or job you never plan to mention again or an interim role where you have clearly agreed a start and finish date.  But if your senior sponsor is well connected across your industry you should try to leave on a good note. Why? Because it’s a small world and the next hiring manager may put in a call to his or her former colleague (a.k.a., your senior sponsor) to get an unofficial scoop.  It happens, so if your going to leave anyway then try to fulfilled your end of the deal.

Strategy 6 -Get Moving Fast

Imagine, for example, that you were hired to help the company manage multiple programmes and projects across the globe, but a recent change in leadership means all efforts moving forward will be focused locally.

If you’re spending your days just trying to find ways to be productive or are undertaking a role you never signed up for, you have every right to pursue new opportunities. Of course the first course of action should normally be to discuss with your senior about other responsibilities or roles you could take on. But if you know that this isn’t going to happen in the new world, get moving fast.

Strategy 7 – Your Dream Job Awaits

This time use your interview or job offer conversation to pin down exactly what you will be doing. That way there will be no nasty surprises. Dream jobs don’t come every day. So, if you have a chance at yours, take it quickly and congratulate yourself for being strong enough to leave when you were unhappy.

Any thoughts to share?