Big 4 Manager Is Itching to Leave But the Partner Carrot Is Being Dangled

Have the busy season blues but too lazy or untalented to write a song about it? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and someone will tell your story.

Hi GC
 
Long time reader, first time emailer.
 
I am a first year manager at a Big 4 firm. For the past 4 months I have had this itch (worse than the ones you have on certain body parts) to leave. However, I have been quite careful not to let anyone at work know about this annoying itch.
 
I had lunch with a couple partners yesterday and they both basically told me that I will be partner at 34-35 judging by my performance and with the assumption I maintain it. I am one of the highest rated managers in my batch (there's only 2 ahead/equal to me in a total pool of 30).
 
What are your thoughts on my predicament? Considering the fact no one would know that I want to leave, should I take their comments at face value?
 
Thanks
Dear Itchy and Scratchy,
 
I've got two words for you: Gold Bond.
 
Now, this rash of yours. I'm wondering what it is that's chafing you. Is it the money? Are you having a mid-busy season crisis?  Did a sexy recruiter promise to make your career dreams come true? Whatever it is, you best examine the cause of this malady to get an idea of why you want to leave your firm. 
 
And the fact that you recently had lunch with a couple of partners may be an indication that your itch isn't as big of a secret as you think. Someone has probably noticed you squirming in your seat only to run off to a bathroom stall to scratch yourself furiously right up to point before you start bleeding. Since you are a talent, these partners want to keep you and so they are start to dangle the plunders of being a member of their club. They've seen your kind before, so now they're going on a subtle offensive.
 
That said, I think you can probably take their age range fairly seriously. I don't know which office or firm you're in (if you're at KPMG, you'll be at PwC in no time) but that's right in the wheelhouse of when many are admitted to the partnership. For larger offices it might be a little lower but it's more or less in the ballpark.
 
But ultimately, you've got to figure out is why you've got this rash in the first place. If it is money or some other worldly desire, then I wouldn't make any rash decisions. Figure out what you really want to do and go from there.

 

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