Rewarding Futures

Quitting your job… (or the art of when - and how - to move on)

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It’s a key time of year for people seeking new career opportunities. We see this for ourselves, with Vana Resourcing’s website welcoming the most number of visitors during the Autumn period.

Therefore it might appear strange that our latest blog focuses on departures rather than beginnings. ‘Quitting’ has negative connotations but we’ll suggest that, in the right circumstances, it can be one of the most positive career moves a person makes.

Our starting point was an online article published in July where an experienced Head of Talent & HR, Toni Thompson, shared her insight on knowing when the time is right to leave a job.

There are many reasons why people might seek a new opportunity. Some will have naturally outgrown a role, or aspire to greater seniority and salary. For others a change in personal circumstances create practical reasons to reconsider their career. Realistically however, a common impetus will be frustration. This could be down to anything from career inertia - for example a job starting to feel like Groundhog Day - to disengagement, a mismatch of organisational and personal goals/values, and simple gut instinct.

The key point made by Thompson was that whatever the motivation for quitting (and there are many), an individual should strive to leave a positive impression with the organisation they’re moving on from. It’s a view shared by Alison Doyle writing on personal finance website, The Balance. ‘If you don't appropriately plan your resignation, you may find yourself at your wit's end one day and end up quitting on the spot, which will ruin your chances to maintain a positive relationship with your past employer,’ writes Doyle.

Knowing you want to move job, such as for the examples given above, is easy enough. Knowing when to make that move is much harder to judge as emotion has to be balanced with practicality.

Enabling these conversations – and ultimately a successful transition – is something that Vana Resourcing has had first-hand experience of. Two very different cases come to mind:

  • A candidate we recently worked with had a successful career stretching back 15 years, and reached an enviable level with all the benefits of a senior position. However, during the last 12 months in role, she described how she felt a growing sense of unease; how her role lacked creativity, and that she felt undervalued and over-controlled to the point that work had stopped being enjoyable. On the other hand were a number of critical factors - maintaining stability at home, finances, and the worry of "will I be good enough elsewhere" – holding her back. Through the subsequent career search, Vana gently helped her to take each step, providing advice and a sounding board as and when it was needed. One year later and that same candidate is now thriving in a new role as HR Director for an SME-level organisation. “I feel fulfilled, I’m well respected and feel that I have autonomy over what I do and how I do it,” she told us. “It’s clear to me now that, although I could have stayed in my role, I would have ultimately burnt out. I was stifled and would have ended up resenting the company where I had built my career."
  • Another candidate who we’d previously supported several years ago contacted us again recently. They’d been approached by their new employer directly and had taken up a new role, but the offer of a rapid succession move within a supporting environment did not translate to reality. In fact the pacey, commercial and agile culture promised instead turned out to be slow and bureaucratic once inside! Having sought our advice, we introduced her to a client for an HRD opportunity, but through the various conversations came a realisation that she needed to leave her new job irrespective because it had been the wrong move, added no value to the CV and made her unhappy (which was coming across). Having reflected, she contacted Vana to confirm her resignation and the decision to go travelling. However we’ll be catching up again on her return later this year regarding the next career move! 

Of course, we’re not encouraging anyone reading this to hand in their resignation tomorrow and head off to the nearest travel agent! However, we recognise that there are talented people dissatisfied with their current career circumstances but feel unable to take the next step. “We meet a lot of candidates who’ve made a career move that has not turned out as they’d hoped for a variety of reasons,” said Vana co-Director, Debbie Flowers. “That’s not a bad thing in itself – these things happen. But sitting on it for too long, and letting frustration build, is the problem. Recognising this, and then doing something about it leading ultimately to a professional exit reflects an individual’s intelligence, honesty, and integrity – very attractive qualities in the eyes of a future employer!”

In conclusion, it’s about making the transition in the most constructive way possible and carefully choosing, and then managing, the point of leaving – both of which require as much personal skill and judgement as any job search. Change won’t always be straightforward, but using the support available – and having the courage of your convictions to make the break – could pay dividends in the long run.


The online article which formed the starting point for our blog can be seen here.

And if our story resonates with your own career circumstances why not make positive change happen and have a conversation with us?

I’ve worked with the team at Vana on many occasions over the years, engaging them to hire senior talent in a number of businesses. Both Debbie and Jo offer great insight and expertise, but above all they deliver results. I would happily recommend their services.

Scott Fishburn, HR Director, DFS

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John Burgess, Head of Talent & Leadership Development, AXA Group

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Kate Banks, ‎Group Director of HR & Legal Services at DAS UK Group

'Debbie and Jo are first class headhunters of HR talent. They take the time to fully understand the brief and culture of the organisation before suggesting any candidates for opportunities. Thank you Vana for sourcing quality hires for my team.'

Helen Norris, Head of HR - Nationwide Building Society

I have worked with Debbie both in the search for talent and also as a candidate, in both situations Debbie has been faultlessly professional. Debbie builds strong relationships exploring briefs to ensure she has a deep understanding of what the business and candidate need, allowing her to deliver a real match.

Ian Marchant, Retail HRD, Greene King plc

Candidate experience is really important to me in recruitment, because that is someone's first experience of an organisation - your organisation. As I see it, the recruiter is part of YOUR brand and their actions impact on YOUR reputation when they act for you. The candidate remembers the experience of applying for a job and not always the recruiter involved.

My experience as a candidate of Jo's was exceptional. Jo kept me informed at every stage, questions were anticipated and I always knew where the process was. Also, Jo was present as a person and not as a remote handler. This shows me that any candidate that Jo places would be treated in exactly the way I'd want them to be. I recommend her without hesitation.

Geraldine Buckland, Director of People, Bristol Water

Debbie and Jo are great recruiters of HR talent; they have successfully worked on a number of key senior hires for us both in the UK and internationally.

Jonathan Wright, Group HRD, Murphy Group

Debbie has recently supported me in securing my first HRD role. Her observations and feedback were very insightful and assisted me greatly in navigating the recruitment process and learning about the company and environment I'll be stepping into. Totally dependable, unbiased and a good judge of character, I would highly recommend her to act on your behalf with prospective employers. I haven't worked with Debbie yet as the employer but wouldn't hesitate to do this if the need arises.

Anita Calverley, HR Director, Yeo Valley Farms

The thing about Vana Resourcing is that Debbie and Jo actually care – about you as a person, your career and your business. Yes they deliver great candidates and opportunities but they make sure that the fit / opportunity is right, challenging both sides in a positive way when needed. They’ve supported my career for the last 10 years, including introducing me to my current HRD role, and I have no hesitation that they will be my first point of call for future candidates and opportunities.

Suzie Noble, Chief People Officer, Brightside

“I have worked with Debbie and Jo several times, they stand out from the crowd as a sourcer of talent and when managing you as a candidate, I simply haven't worked with anyone better. Commercial, thorough, expert and with a sense of integrity that means you are only ever recommended to organisations that suit you - and as a hirer you only get talent that works for your organisation. As a hiring organisation, working with a partner like Vana is simply irreplaceable.”

Head of OD, Vodafone

Debbie brings accurate and current insight on HR Talent. Her ability to recognise top people in their field and actively nurture relationships over a long period of time sets her apart from her peers. Debbie is refreshingly honest , she keeps confidences and is not afraid to challenge both candidates and hiring Executives to ensure the right outcome for all parties. I would have no hesitation in recommending Debbie or Vana Resourcing for a critical HR hire.

Barbara Duffy, International HR Director leading on Talent, L&D, Resourcing,OD

“Debbie introduced me to OVO Energy, and she not only found me the right role, but an organisation whose ethos matched my values.  I have since worked with Vana to recruit almost my entire senior HR team! From HRBP's to a Reward Lead and most recently a HR Director. Vana really understand the importance of culture fit."

Kim Atherton, Chief People Officer, OVO Energy

I have worked with Vana Resourcing for a number of years representing me in my own search and as a client. Debbie and Jo are professional and efficient but unusually for this sector, genuinely caring about both client and candidate experience in equal measure.

Jonathan Edge, HR Director UK & Ireland at Ideal Standard International BVBA

“Jo is highly professional, knowledgeable and proactive. It’s not often that a recruitment consultant really interviews you in the same way a prospective employer would.”

Simon Amesbury, SuperGroup plc

What a refreshing delight to work with a commercial partner who understood my business, had national and regional awareness, a handle on the market, an effortless connection with candidates and could tolerate my Everest-like expectations.

I will continue to work with Debbie and Jo again on my incessant drive to solve the talent conundrum of the coming years.

Keep up the great work, you are a credit to the industry.


Stephen Robson, HR Director, Global O&Supply Chain at Kingfisher plc

"The team and I have worked with Jo now on a number of occasions for various recruitment assignments. I have always found Jo to be consultative and considered in her approach but above all honest and straight forward! She has a great understanding of her market place and is always at the end of the line to offer insight and market knowledge. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Vana and look forward to our continued relationship."

Resourcing Partner, Nationwide Building Society, Resourcing Partner, Nationwide Building Society

I've known Jo for a number of years and worked with her as a client and candidate. What's great about working with Jo is that you're guaranteed an honest perspective and terrific insight to the market. She nurtures her relationships in a natural and engaging way: put simply - she knows her stuff!

Marie Aitken, Chief People Officer

I initially engaged Debbie to undertake a search for a Head of OD. She is consultative in style, and took time to gain a comprehensive insight into our organisational culture and HR journey, delivering an excellent shortlist of candidates and a super hire. The feedback from our candidates on their engagement with VANA has been equally positive. Jo and Debbie has since supported me with several other senior hires within the People organisation at RLG, and we enjoy an effective working partnership.

People & Corporate Affairs Director, Royal London Group

“I have worked with Debbie as both candidate and client. In both contexts I have found her to be super-efficient, thorough and a pleasure to do business with. She listens really well, responds quickly and is flexible to evolving demands. Debbie is up there in my top 3 recruiters.”

Sue Round, Head of Talent and Organisational Effectiveness, BP

I have worked with Debbie and Jo for many years as a candidate looking for opportunities and a manager looking for talent.  I have always been impressed by how Vana strive to ensure that there is the best fit in terms of candidate values and company culture.

Sarah King, Head of HR, Triodos Bank