Why creatives quit and what you can do about it

They say that people quit bosses, they don’t quit jobs and this is mostly true. But leading and working as a creative comes with its own set of challenges that can drive people to leave your team or for you to find a new job. In this episode, we will look at some of those unique challenges, what you can do about it as a leader or as an employee, and that are 4 questions you need to ask before you change jobs.

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Show Notes

In this episode I want to tackle another one of those topics many people find a little taboo or difficult to talk about – why creatives quit. Some of the reasons are the same ones for people in any job, but there are also specific things that will drive them away. For most of us it may be a slow burn and not just one thing that finally pushes us over the edge.

If you are a creative leader then you need to listen to this episode to see if you are guilty of any of these and I will give you some things you can do to try and fix it. If you are an employee then I hope this episode will help give you a map of the things you need to look out for. And we will also talk about some of the things you need to think about before you quit your job.

The basics

Not to give away the ending before we start but people quit bosses – they don’t quit jobs. More than half the people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. As we have talked about before, creatives and different than everyone else and so the reasons why they quit are sometimes different from everyone else – but some time they are exactly the same as everyone else.

Common reasons creative quit

Creatives don’t see their work getting better

Designers want to know that the work they do tomorrow will be better than the work they do today.

What to do about it:

Leaders don’t defend the work or their team

They throw the team under the bus, say yes to everything or betray what was agreed to by everyone.

What to do about it:

Leaders don’t care about their people

Bosses who don’t genuinely care about their people will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone for eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your output.

What to do about it:

Leaders aren’t honest with their teams

Creativity is subjective and a lot of work so nothing is worse than not hearing what people really think so you can solve those new problems in your work.

What to do about it:

Leaders don’t show creatives how they fit into the big picture

It may seem efficient to simply send employees assignments and move on, but leaving out the big picture is a deal breaker for creatives. Creatives shoulder heavier loads because they genuinely care about their work, so their work must have a purpose. When they don’t know what that is, they feel alienated and aimless. When they aren’t given a purpose, they find one elsewhere.

What to do about it:

Leaders tolerates poor performance

When you permit weak links to exist without consequence, they drag everyone else down, especially your top performers.

What to do about it:

Leaders don’t give any autonomy or independence

You are micromanaged or your boss doesn’t make it clear when you are in charge.

What to do about it:

Leaders don’t create a culture

Culture isn’t just going out for drinks now and again after work. It is have a clear sense of what your team stands for, what purpose they are working towards and clearing defining where people fit into it.

What to do about it:

Creatives don’t see their work being used or launching

Creatives are an interesting bunch because they can really inspired to do great things. But there is also a danger there because if they go to long and they don’t see their ideas turning into reality then all that inspiration will quickly turn to frustration. Ideas are great but creatives want to see them actually go out into the world.

What to do about it:

4 questions before you quit

This is not my content – its came from a 99u article by Paul Jun

Question 1: Who will I become if I take this opportunity?

The question behind the question is about understanding what kind of decision you’re about to make and the path it’s putting you on. Are you taking this next opportunity because of the pay or because working at that company will shape you into the person you want to become?

Question 2: What is the opportunity cost of this opportunity?

Opportunity costs are everywhere, and sometimes they’re hard to measure especially when you’re in the middle of career crossroads.

Question 3: What sacrifices do I need to make if I take this opportunity?

Let’s say the options in front of you are glowing with potential—they demand your skills, the organization has a wonderful culture, and the role will challenge and push you to learn. But… you need to move across the country, make new friends, and pay double the rent.

When we laser-focus on the short-term discomfort, we willfully ignore the long-term gains. Challenging your biggest comfort zone and making difficult sacrifices is simply a part of life.

The goal is to be clear that these sacrifices, this decision, is the best possible route that will build the career and life you desire to lead. It’s hard to leave friends and family, the hometown which shaped you.

Question 4: Is it worth it?

Once you have an idea of who you will become and the opportunity cost of this next endeavor, you need to ask the grand question: Is it worth it?
You need to make a decision tree. A decision tree helps you see the consequences of your decision, the cost of resources, and chance events that may get in your way. It’s about being unmistakably clear about the decision you’re going to make so that (almost) nothing comes as a surprise.
You’re essentially asking yourself, If I take this route, where will this road take me?

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