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Leaving a Role You Love

By June 6, 2019No Comments

Breaking up is never easy, but somehow feels even more difficult when nobody’s been wronged. It’s incredibly hard to sit down with someone you’re fond of, who you genuinely like and respect, and end your relationship. “It’s not you, it’s me,” you fumble. “No, you’ve not done anything wrong. Nothing’s wrong. It’s just … not right.

Resigning goes much the same way. It’s easy to leave a job when a wrong has been committed, or a reasonable request not accommodated. But what if you actually quite like your job? How do you decide to leave when, really, you’ve got it good?

As a recruiter of internal recruiters, I cover this topic a lot, particularly with candidates who are currently in agency. Many enjoy their work, achieve well and are not miserable by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just … not quite right. Eventually, the right thing comes along, and for the vast majority of agency recruiters I work with that ‘right thing’ is an internal recruitment role. It’s not always that they don’t enjoy the sales aspect of agency recruitment; rather, it just doesn’t resonate with them. There is a certain breed of us who thrives in the ‘hustle’, and another breed who simply tolerates it. The latter feels it deeply when roles fall through, when clients vanish and when candidates are dicked around. They’re not as good at shaking it off and moving on as their hustle-happy counterparts. They are frustrated by the third-party nature of their role. And so they end up sitting down for a coffee with me, nervously explaining how they feel and wondering where on earth they’re meant to go from here; precisely as I did with Jon, many moons ago.

And then, in a more recent moon, I sat down with Jon and Sean again, but for a very different conversation. This time, it was me uncomfortably trotting out the awkward line: “It’s not you, it’s me.”

And genuinely, it is just me. Rice is a wonderful place to work – one of the very best. Jon and Sean have created a sub-culture all of their own here; a wonderful, happy little place to work that is worlds apart from the typical agency mold. Jon and Sean have recruited recruiters for a decade (and counting), so they know what works well and, more crucially, what doesn’t. They’ve used that insight to create a way of working that is about as close to ideal as you could imagine. The key check-points are all there, in strong leadership, psychological safety and camaraderie. Then we also have:

Flexibility – Our work is all outcome-oriented; we know the common goal, and what is being worked toward, but how we get there is decided individually. I can work where I want, when I want, and how I want. There are no arbitrary KPIs to meet; no exhaustive tick-box exercises. I’m trusted to do my job however best suits me, and – spoiler alert – it works! We get unlimited annual leave, which I’ve more than taken advantage of. We can work from home whenever, so I do. The freedom to work in sync with your own natural rhythms is intoxicatingly good. It’s also effective – I’ve billed more with Rice than ever before. Congrats, me.

Autonomy – Beyond working wherever and whenever we like, we are also trusted to set our own targets, establish our own strategies and build relationships accordingly. Never before have I had a leadership team so trusting of my own finicky way about things. My personal style tends more toward ‘slow and steady wins the race’, an approach not oft-adopted by agency recruiters but one that works blindingly well in the People & Culture space. I work exclusively with HR professionals, who appreciate a genuine connection. Being afforded the time and space to build those genuine connections not only made my work infinitely more meaningful, it established robust relationships that will serve Rice well for years to come.

Culture – How exactly culture comes about has always escaped me, but whatever it is these guys decided to do, they nailed it. We have a small, tight-knit team who work hard, play hard and always have each others’ backs. We speak freely, laugh hard, and share in both triumphs and disappointments.

Reward and Recognition – Good work is recognised and celebrated here, both tangibly and with warm-fuzzies. We say nice things about each other when good work has been done, we work collaboratively, we share success as a team, and we enjoy a competitive, rewarding commission structure.

So, why am I leaving? Simple – I’m one of those saps who just can’t separate her feelings from her work. I love my role here, I love the team; I love the culture, the freedom, the flex, and the variety of work. I love it all. But we are an agency. I will always be external to the businesses I work with and, harking back to my goody-two-shoes days of old – (make no mistake, High School Tash was not even remotely cool) – I want to don ye olde over-achiever hat, and get stuck into a big chunky remit. I want to crack my knuckles beyond recruitment; keep learning, keep growing. It really is that simple – not at all a reflection on my current state, but rather symbolic of where I want to go.

I’m off to the dark side, to be an internal recruiter. And I will miss these guys fiercely.

As said in my letter of resignation, “I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given here. The laughs shared, beers sunk, smack talked; advice given, coaching and sheer freedom to be myself and work my way will all be looked back on fondly forever. I’ve been smitten with my role here, the crew and the culture, and to leave is truly bittersweet. I want to thank you both for all you’ve done and been during my time here. I’ve grown so much, professionally and personally, and will forever hold Rice dear in my heart.”

Over and out.



P.S. If you like the sound of the above, and fancy yourself a bit of a kickass HR recruiter … drop me a note. I’m here until Tuesday and I’d love to tell you more about how awesome it is to work at Rice.

Natasha Foster

Recruitment Consultant at New Zealand firm Rice Consulting, shaking things up in the HR world. Photographer on the side, Te Reo student, rock climber and learner surfer. Most happy off the grid.