Will Smith says: “If you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready.” I love this quote. It makes me think about all the times I did not prepare for a change in career or a new opportunity, and how many times I walked into a new job only to discover it wasn’t the right career move. I have realised over the years that it is important to set yourself up for the next move – instead of waiting until you are ready, or forced to do it.
When I developed my exit strategy the first time, I didn’t know if I was going to start my own business or move to another organisation. When I started working on my plan, the only option that came to mind was applying to a new company. I didn’t know I wanted to start my own business until about a year before I left my corporate job. I knew that I wanted more for my life and that my career at the time didn’t support the life that I wanted to create.
Over the next five days I am going to share my exit strategy with you.
Now, you might be thinking: “but Selina, I don’t want to leave my company” or “Selina, I love working for someone else” and to that, I am going to say that’s great! You don’t only need an exit strategy if you want to start your own business.
You should have an exit strategy if you want to:
So, if this is for you, then please stick around for the next five days and let’s make sure you have an exit strategy in place to implement in 2021.
When clients come to me, they are generally overwhelmed, uninspired and ready to move on or make some serious changes. They are unhappy in their jobs for a number of reasons and often find that their values are no longer aligned to the company’s.
When I created my exit strategy back in 2017, I knew that I needed a clear roadmap and a way to implement it, otherwise I would go from one job to the next, instead of taking the steps needed to change my life and my career.
For me, an exit strategy is a clear thought-through map to help you to develop, plan and execute your exit from your current job or career circumstances. It ensures that you know what to do at each stage of your journey – while you are working towards your career goals.
Your exit strategy is your guide. Everytime you feel stuck or you feel like you are never going to get out of your current job, go back to your exit strategy to figure out where you are on the journey and what your next steps are.
Life goals are important to consider when you develop your exit strategy. The reason I developed my exit strategy was because I realised that I was not living the life I wanted to. I was working all the time. I created elaborate goals that I never achieved because I allowed my circumstances (working all the time, even when I was on paid leave) to control my life.
Our work lives and personal lives are integrated so an exit strategy should consider both. Consider the impact of the changes you want to make. How will it impact you? How will it impact your kids, your partner, your career progression and your finances?
If your life goal is to feel balanced and to spend time with your family, to be around so that you can experience your kids growing up and be there for all the important milestones then your current role or new job cannot be one where you are required to work 14-hour days, seven days a week; where you have to be on call for clients 24/7 and where work is assigned randomly without consideration for your personal commitments.
When you have a clear, well-thought-out exit strategy, you know what type of environment you want to work in because you are clear about your life goals; you know what type of work experience you want because you are clear about your career goals; you have a clear plan and you have the action steps required to make it happen.
An exit strategy helps to ensure that you take the next job opportunity because it supports the life and career you want to build – not because it pays well. You will know what to look for in the environment or the culture of the new organisation because you know what you want and what will serve your life and career goals. You can adapt your exit strategy every time you start a new job to ensure it aligns to your broader life and career goals.
With an exit strategy you will also know when it is time to move on from a job or company and when to stay in a job a little longer. This is why an exit strategy is important because we want to leave our current jobs when we are ready and not when others make the decision for us.
You can see why an exit strategy is important and how it can serve you beyond your current job or life circumstances. I have used mine a few times since 2018 and it has helped me everytime.