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It’s that time of year

Breakthrough Blueprint

The how-to guide to your career success

It’s that time of year

It’s that time of year. You’ve had a little break. The summer days are enticing you to the beach. The new year has dawned and you’ve had time to reflect on what you like – and what you don’t. And now … you want to resign. (Hey, NSW Premier Mike Baird did just that.)

I get it. I’ve been through it. I’ve done the same thing.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt through the decades of my career it is: don’t act too impulsively.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for being pro-active. If it’s done for the right reasons.

Look, if you absolutely hate your job and the thought of going back to work actually makes you feel physically sick, chances are that you definitely need to change something about your career or your life.

But if you’ve only been in your job for a year or less – but you’re not progressing as quickly as you would like, before you press “send” on your resignation, just pause for minute.

I know that this opinion may not be popular with those who love instant gratification, want to get promoted asap and think they need to run their own department within a year of arriving at the company – but I’m going to say it anyway.

Be patient. Build your foundations. And don’t chuck it all in just because you haven’t been made CEO in the five minutes you’ve been at the company.

I’ve made this mistake myself. I’ve had many jobs in my career. And the ones where I have persisted – even when I’ve been tempted to leave – have paid off for me in the long run. In spades. And, in many cases, when I look back on the ones where I resigned before putting in even just a few hard yards … in retrospect I realised that I often quit when I was on the verge of actually breaking through.

Instead, I started a fresh, new role. And that’s all very exciting. But the reality is that it takes a while to build trust and credibility with a new set of peers. You might think that you’re taking a forward step. But actually it could be sideways (and possibly even slightly backwards). Don’t be fooled by a bright shiny object.

These observations are great in hindsight. And, honestly, I wish I had a mentor or counsellor who could have forewarned me back then.

So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m not trying stop you from taking action. I just want to encourage you to pause and consider whether you’re actually jumping ship just before you’re about to hit the big time in your career.

Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, one of the world’s leading centres for writing courses. She contributed to Fairfax for 13 years and has held senior editorial roles at ACP (now Bauer), Pacific Magazines and EMAP. She was editor of Business Chick’s Latte magazine for five years and regularly writes for corporate and consumer titles. Valerie began her career in chartered accounting at PwC before moving into public relations, journalism and then entrepreneurship. She is co-host of the podcast “So you want to be a writer”, recently listed as one of the top 30 podcasts for writers in the world, and “So you want to be a photographer”. Valerie is also a mentor with the Australian Businesswomen’s Network.

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