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Is the grass REALLY greener over there?




Over the past couple of years, with the great resignation happening across companies and industries, I am speaking with more and more people who are looking to move away from their current companies. For some, unfortunately, their decisions are rash and unresearched leading them to realise, all too late, that alas the grass was not greener elsewhere!

Take Roz* for example (*not actual name) – Roz was with her last employer for several years, during that time, she received a promotion and a couple of pay increases. As she sits in front of me, she exclaims “Awe Elma, I just had enough of my last employer. They were refusing to give me any flexibility with hybrid working, no pay increases for a couple of years, no opportunity for growth – I was going nowhere so I decided to leave!” As the conversation continued and I gathered more information about the new role Roz decided to move for, her regret starts to become more apparent. So, I asked how life improved since the move and she replied, “But that’s just it. It really hasn’t at all!” It turned out that certain verbal promises were made and were not being honoured, there was more than a couple of people waiting to progress into the same role that Roz was led to believe in the interview would be a seamless progression for her within 1 – 2 years. Also, the loose promise of remote working was being clawed back to what she had with her previous employer. Not only that, but she also now has less autonomy and input than before, something that was a particularly tough blow.

Or what about Lorcan* - Lorcan advised me that he was “sold a lemon” by a recruiter. “They told me that the role was fully remote and that there were 3 direct reports. They also advised that I would be given the flexibility to start a little later and finish later so I could do school drop before work” But when Lorcan started he was advised he needed to be online ready to work at 9am which meant he could not do the school drop off. He was also advised he would be required to travel from Clare to Dublin at least once a week to meet with his team – his team being his manager and 1 direct report, not the 3 he was led to believe.


Finally, there’s Jean* – Jean was with her last employer for 1 year and 11 months. By leaving before the 2-year mark she missed out on keeping the former employer’s pension contributions as well as her annual bonus. She tells me, “This opportunity was just too good not to leave, I simply had to leave the pension and bonus behind so I could take it!


5 key takeaways and lessons to be learned from the above

1) Get everything in writing. If you are promised something that is not included in your contract or in a policy then ask for it in writing. At this stage, employers should have their hybrid policies in place so being advised verbally you can work remotely but that you cannot get it in writing is a massive red flag.


2) Do your research. Do you know any current or former employees that you could reach out to for some honest feedback on what the company is like to work with? At the interview, ask for a clear idea of the team structure including any direct reports and, if appropriate, try to get an indication of any peers who could potentially be vying for the same roles internally to progress.


3) Ask thoughtful questions in the interview. I cannot emphasis this one enough. Please do not ask questions you have found online by googling “good questions to ask at interview” or any questions you feel you “should” be asking. There is no should. Analyse the job spec, and listen intently to the hiring manager (you should always meet the hiring manager / your potential manager before starting a new role). As they’re talking maybe questions will arise, rather than interrupt them, write your questions down and have them ready to ask. Genuine questions that come from you and you alone. (yes, yes you can take notes at an interview.) Also, don’t be afraid to get confirmation on questions previously answered by recruiters, most recruiters will sell it as it is but if there are deal breakers for you, then it’s always best to confirm directly (if appropriate at the interview stage, some questions may be better left to when you have an offer).


4) Once you have an offer in front of you, you can absolutely ask to delay starting by a month so you can receive pension/bonus payments from your former employer. If they refuse, they may be willing to compensate you for the loss. No harm in asking before you leave money after you.


5) Assume nothing! Often, people assume their employers are aware of their dissatisfaction or that even if they were aware they would do nothing about it. This is not always the case. Rather than making this assumption and making a life-changing decision perhaps you could first have a very open and honest conversation with your current employer and discuss any reservations and concerns in a calm and open way so you could potentially meet halfway or at the very least walk away knowing you tried.


I regularly work with clients who are considering a move in their careers – this could be internally or externally to their current company. If you’d like to learn more about how I could help you or if you would like to work with me on any other areas of coaching, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at www.elmacarew.com/contact

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