When Should I leave my Employer?

Our exit from an organization may be forced, while other times, it’s voluntary. The question however remains, when is the right time to call it a day and move on to other projects?

In trying to answer this, one particular person comes to my mind. When Jonathan Ciano joined Uchumi Supermarket in 2006, his job was to turn around the establishment and true, he did, or at least that’s what we saw from the outside. Uchumi Supermarket was even enlisted back to the Nairobi Stock Exchange in 2011. I personally expected that once the Supermarket was back to its feet, he would be gone. He didn’t do that! I remember mentioning in passing to a friend around 2014 that I felt Ciano had overstayed his welcome in Uchumi Supermarket and he needed to leave now. Unfortunately, my memo never got to him. We all know how his exit happened and it wasn’t a happy one at all.

When we are riding high in success, sometimes we tend to get too comfortable and want to bask in the glory for too long. This could work for us but sometimes it may work against us. In my village, we have a saying that one should leave the table when the food is still hot and sweet. The difference between Michael Joseph of Safaricom, Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid and Jonathan Ciano is that the two former left the table when their flags were still flying high.

Exiting when you are on top of your game helps you to maintain the legacy you have created. A scandal that finds you when you are at the top is remembered longer than the wonderful things you may have done prior to that. As a matter of fact, people begin to even question how true your previous achievements were.

As an employee and a Human Resource Practitioner, I believe in getting the job done and exiting as soon as possible. Otherwise, when you try to become a lifetime staff of a company after the main job is finished, it never ends well. It is a huge risk leaving when you are riding high but I believe it’s always worth it in the end. So go in, get the job done and hand over to others to continue with the work.


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