When is it Time to Leave?

If you are a medical science liaison with experience, you are probably already getting propositioned by recruiters on a frequent basis, offering you “fantastic opportunities with lots of growth potential”, accompanied by a nice bump in base salary. Some of these opportunities sure sound promising! However, if you are an experienced MSL professional, you’ve been on the block long enough to know that the field is not always greener on the other side, and you smartly decide to stay put with your current company.

So… when is it time to leave your current company? You may consider one or all of these reasons when you are prospecting an exit strategy:

* My Boss
* My Team Mates
* My Company
* My Growth
* My Career
* My Work-Life Balance

Here, I’ll cover the first three items.

My Boss is a Jerk/My Boss Doesn’t Care
If you report to a manager or director who is uncommunicative, unreachable, or uninterested in you/what you’re doing, you won’t go very far in the company. Even if you love autonomy, there is a delicate balance between independence and desertion. Or, the manager/director may be at the other end of the control spectrum and wants you to send an update every hour, on the hour to believe that you’re actually working.

The “boss” factor usually emerges when the boss you’ve known and loved leaves and a new boss comes in. New bosses are always eager to please to have something to prove to their bosses, which sometimes translate to dysfunctional behavior. Give the new boss a chance (remember how eager you were when you started out with the company), but if he or she doesn’t calm down or connect with you by the end of 3 months, it may be time for a heart-to-heart talk with the boss, or to start answering those recruiting calls.

I Have Toxic Team Mates
Toxic team mates are usually people who have been around long enough to develop deep cynicism and whose modus operandi is “Why suffer alone? Share the misery”. Toxic team mates may never “calm down” or acclimate, which means you’ll have to decide whether the toxicity level is a “manageable side effect” or whether you’re in a situation requiring a “black box warning, yesterday”.

Good people begin to behave badly when they have been mistreated or asked to do illegal things (see next section). If corporate ethics are involved, the idealistic ones will work hard to make a change, and if they realize that resistance is futile, they will probably leave quickly.

Toxic team mates, however, are usually good people who start behaving badly to ease their own boredom or tension. Instead of solving problems, their out-dated coping skills eventually turn them into not-so-good people because they have absorbed too much of their own bitterness. You may want to spare yourself the same bilious possibility by leaving for a new team.

I Think This Company is Behaving Unethically
No brainer here: if you see your company doing illegal things, you should leave. Keep in mind, however, that what may be “unethical” may not be necessarily “illegal”, and vice versa. Thus this is more of an issue of your personal ethical values and whether you feel as if you are asked to compromise your values in order to keep your job.

If you are afraid to document something that may be viewed by the likes of FDA, OIG, or DOJ, then chances are good that you’re asked to cross the line.