Building Your Career by Leaving Your Employer

Different people will have their own ideals. What and how they want to build a career. But what I can say in all cases, making the opportunity (rather than waiting for it) will be a faster path to your success. And, in many instances leaving a job and an employer has FAR more upside than downside..

So, if you’re wanting more from your job, career or business, start making it happen.

In this podcast I go through three career building cases studies.


Good day there, bakers, writers, and rock stars. Welcome to the first blog, vlog, podcast of the year with me, Dr. Richard Huysmans. This week talking all about building a career by leaving your employer. Last year I had the pleasure of helping a few different people look for new jobs and with the ultimate aim of getting promotion. I guess there are 3 categories of people that I see. I guess that I’m going to describe today in the vlog.

So, first off, we’ve got Ash fictional name here. I helped Ash develop an application for promotion. Ash’s role was non-traditional academic if for once of a better word. So increasingly, there are academic roles that are more technical in nature rather than I guess, subject matter expertise. They’re technical experts. In Australia, we have lots of people that are like, good at running particular kinds of specialized microscopes. Good at running computer technologies. Good at running I don’t know, animal facilities. All these kinds of technical experts, and they did their PhD in the technical aspect of running the facility or maintaining the facility or offering that service. So, they go and have an academic role where they continue to offer that service, they’re an expert in it, and they get the most out of it. They’re better than many other peers at that. Not just peers but better than other academics at that thing. But getting promotion can be hard. So, working with Ash, we created a story arc of their career. How their story arc was obviously a non-traditional one, but how it helped create traditional academic outputs. You know, publications and grants. How that story arc helped other academics be better academics themselves. How it helped their story arc of getting grants and publication. So, that’s the first way, the internal promotion way.

Now, I don’t really know. I actually don’t know the outcome of this just yet. The process internal promotion in Australia, anyway, can be a year-long process where you apply late in one calendar year. You get notified in the middle of the next calendar year. Whether you might be needed for an interview or some kind of talk or presentation, and then you get notified towards the end of the next year whether or not you’ve got the job. So, it’s a 12-month process, and then you don’t get onto the new pay scale. Into the new position until the next calendar year. So, it could be 14 or 15 months between your initial application, and finally being given that new position. If you think you’re going to have success that way, certainly staying in an employer might be of value to you and might be something that you want to do.

But there are other ways that you can go about getting a promotion or build your career by essentially leaving your current employer. That’s where Lee, another fictional character comes in. So again, I helped the person a bit like Lee last year. So, they had been overlooked for internal academic promotion. They were actually told, “No, don’t apply. You don’t meet the credentials. You don’t meet the criteria”. But on the other hand, they were also tapped on the shoulder to apply for external jobs at the next level up. So, essentially a promotion by applying elsewhere. So, we worked together also and created a bit of a story arc about her career, story arc in their role, and in their academic outputs. We made sure that we highlighted not just the academic outputs that were you know, good on paper. If that makes sense or the ones with the high impact factor, but also the ones that actually had an outcome that resulted in something tangible that we could point to rather than just saying, “I was published in the highest impact factor journal or a star journal”. But how was it used, who referenced it, and what came of that. We did that for more than one role. We did we applied for several roles or Lee applied for several roles. I think at least 3 they applied for. Got interviewed for all three. Got offered 2 positions, and so had the pick as it were of those 2 positions. In all of this process, they were still overlooked for promotion internally. All of this whole process from application through to appointment took less than 4 months. So, you can see this is a much quicker route to promotion. Too much quicker routes of promotion, and to the career that you want than waiting internally. Even if you are successfully internally, that takes you know 12 to 15 months. Whereas, if you apply outside you can move much quicker.

The third case of how I helped people last year in terms of career building and promotion, we’ll call this person Sam. They had a PhD that like for all PhDs help them become an expert in their field, and probably the preeminent expert in their field. If you’re thinking, “Oh, my PhD won’t do that” or “That won’t happen for me”. PhD is about gathering new knowledge, so you should be able to have a PhD where you become the expert. It might be a very very niche field. A very narrow field, but you should nonetheless become the expert because you’ve developed this new knowledge in your field. Sam was able to convert that knowledge into something that other people might want to buy. Now Sam is in the health space. So, their PhD was kind of in that space of patient treatment. So, Sam’s because of their PhD was sought after by clinicians and sought after by patients to help respond to develop treat particular needs. So, Sam and I together talked about what the career options were in terms of going and seeking a new employer or trying to get internal promotion. Internal promotion was ruled out after working in that same employer for well over a decade. They weren’t being shown much love. Lots of organizational restructures, and again their value was being overlooked. So, we decided to go and set up Sam’s own practice. So, navigated through that process of getting insurance. Getting some savings behind them. So, that in the event of a downturn or a slow uptake, there’s some backstops and backups there that can help them.

So, there some 3 examples of how you could potentially improve your career by looking for different things or searching outside your current organization to build your career. One of the things that I would say in all of these cases, if you haven’t already got the idea these people are driving their own career development. They’re driving their own ideas. They’re not hanging around waiting to be tapped on the shoulder and asks to apply for promotion or being tapped on the shoulder to go and look for a job. They’re actively seeking out these opportunities.

So, if there’s one thing you take away from this is that you need to go and find the opportunities. Don’t wait for them just to come to you. It’s all well and good to put open to work on LinkedIn and think that recruiters are going to contact you, but you need to be out there applying for jobs. Looking at job boards. Seeing what kinds of jobs and what kinds of keywords are being put into ads, so that you can target your LinkedIn strategy. Your other social media strategy. The chats that you might have with people who might be prospective employers. You can make them all targeted. Make sure your conversation is targeted to what they’re looking for.

So, take care everyone, and see you next week on the vlog.