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How to Quit Responsibly

A message from employers everywhere:

 As Neil Sedaka sang, “Breaking up is hard to do.” If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many songs about heartache. The entire music and ice-cream industries would collapse.

Breaking up with your job is also really hard – but for some reason the music industry doesn’t write too many songs about the pain of doing an exit interview with the HR assistant. Beyond that, though, breaking up and quitting actually have a lot in common: the misery of making the decision (as The Clash would say, “Should I stay or should I go?”), the allure of new opportunities, the “cheating” (going to an interview and telling your boss it’s a dentist appointment) and, finally, making the “break-up” announcement itself. Just as in a romantic relationship, it’s just as hard or harder for the person being dumped as the one making the decision. So it’s ideal if the person doing the breaking up can do it as nicely as possible.

Matches Unmade

At Seuss Recruitment, we think of ourselves as career matchmakers in pharma recruitment. We really do see it as a dating process (awkward or magical first interviews are really like awkward and magical first dates), and we focus on finding matches in personality and lifestyle as much as skill sets. Still, sometimes what looks like it might be true love fizzles out after a few months (or a few years) of dating – er, working.

When a candidate quits, we too often ask: why? In the end, though, we understand: many things can happen after a candidate is placed, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Whatever the reason, we do want the candidate and client to part ways amicably.

Leaving as Friends 

From our experience in mitigating break-ups, we’ve come up with four things the employee can do to make this process easier:

  • Communicate regularly with the company about how you are doing and feeling and make sure your managers’ expectations are being managed. Not every company is great at cultivating realistic expectations for employees, so we do understand that this may not be easy. A lot of people hesitate to trust their managers to work through tough issues, but doing so can lead to breakthroughs and new opportunities. If there is good communication and you do decide to leave, at least you’ve shown that you both tried, and then it’s clear that the fit wasn’t there and you can both go on your separate ways and remain friends.
  • Give enough notice. Every contract has different requirements, but if you can, it’s a nice gesture to give your boss as much notice as possible to give them time to find someone to replace you.
  • Make an exit strategy, ideally with your employer, to make the transition smoother. You’ll also feel better and have more closure when you’ve been able to thoroughly hand over all your activities.

Employers, don’t think you’re off the hook either. Retaining staff is really important (not only because turnover has significant costs) and there are lots of things you can do to be a better employer. Things like avoiding panic hires, leading a positive workplace, investing in training and just listening to your employees and setting up effective communication and work-performance plans with your staff.

We agree with Neil… Breaking up is indeed hard to do, so let’s all work to make it easier.

The best way to prevent life sciences professionals who quit prematurely is to hire candidates that truly match the position and the culture of your pharma, biotech or CRO company. Give Seuss Recruitment a friendly call at +31(0) 20 29 00 016 or send an email to: to learn our why our match making strategies lead to successful placements.