Cut Bait

You gotta know when to go.

Normally the advice I give – whoa, that sounds pompous – normally, the perspective I share has to do with improving your professional situation. Where you are. Tenacity and determination are unsung components of a well-managed career.

In most cases, stick to it.

But not all.

Periodically you will work in a situation that has to change via your exit. Now, while that sometimes may mean leaving the company, the old saw is true: people don’t quit companies, they quit bosses. So you may find yourself in a position where you’ve got to get away from your manager, and, if there is opportunity you may be able to do that and stay in the company if you like its culture.

If not, its time to make like REO Speedwagon and fly.

If your manager is on the wrong end of things they can take your career down with theirs: sometimes you gotta know whether to fish or cut bait.

So, what are some signs you’re in a losing position and the better part of strategy is to cut bait and run?

  • Your manager is getting less air time with the executives. There’s no way to sugar coat this: they don’t get face time, you don’t get your name bandied about. No air time/face time then its high time to split
  • Budgets are whacked. Your boss wants money – its the motor oil that lubricates the engine of commerce. If your teams budget is continually shrinking just like George Costanza fresh out of the water its not a pretty sight
  • Travel and related development activity is cut back in your department while others seem to continue unrestricted. The message? Your boss isn’t showing the ROI. The impact? You ain’t going nowhere (nods to Bob Dylan)
  • In the little exposure your manager does get they fumble the ball not playing their hand well and utterly misunderstanding their bosses’ needs. This is going to get ugly fast.
  • Out of the info loop. If you begin to learn things before your boss its a sure sign they’re not plugged in which is a sure sign you are on thin ice.

Now I don’t advocate bailing out just because times are tough: tough times build character. But if your boss has worked their way into the point of no return that is going to have an impact for you.

Its possible the impact will be good – maybe you’ll get the job – but its more likely an outsider will be recruited and they’ll likely bring in their own team. You’re not in a good place on this one.

So every now and then you need to do a deep reconnoiter of the environment and figure out if your flailing boss has just hit some turbulence or if they are headed for a crash landing. With you on board.

Sometimes you just gotta go.


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