Why leaving a job that’s perfect on paper can be a success, not a failure

Jenny blake headshot
‘In pivoting, we have the opportunity to continue growing,’ says Jenny Blake, pictured. Mark Hanauer

Jenny Blake spent five years working at Google, the best place to work in the US.

So why ever leave?

Inspired by her own experience of making periodic career changes when everything seemed to be going well enough, Blake penned “Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One.”

The former Googler and current career coach spoke to Farnoosh Torabi on Torabi’s podcast So Money to dive into the truths and challenges surrounding career transitions.

One point she made was that too many of us have a mistaken mentality around career transition. We see leaving a great job or a promising career path as a sign we’ve made a mistake, that we’ve failed.

In fact, we’ve probably made a smart career move. The successful people Blake terms “high net growth” individuals, who are looking for meaning in their careers above all else — and who are the intended audience of her book — are excellent examples of this mental reframe.

Here’s Blake:

“… High net growth individuals, they’re willing to take a pay cut or bootstrap a business if it means continuing to pursue their own learning and growth and ultimately, that’s not enough either. They want to make sure that that effort is making an impact on their broader communities and the people around them.

“So a lot of this search for meaning I think is ways of people reframing the conversation and for high net growth individuals, a pivot is not a sign of failure. It’s often a product of their success. It’s that they have achieved mastery and not all pivots have to be super sharp and dramatic.”

An effective pivot might be as simple as changing jobs within your field, or even trying a new position at your current job. She gives the example of leaving Google:

“Like if I have left Google to become a yoga teacher that would have been more of a 180, whereas I was doing coaching and creative element at Google and I pivoted to do it in my own business. That in pivoting, we have the opportunity to continue growing.

“So some pivots can even be within someone’s existing role or business. They don’t have to be so dramatic. It’s a way of asking ‘What’s next?’ and really intentionally doubling down on what’s working to shift methodically in one direction.”

Listen to the full episode of So Money »

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