Jamie Vardy and Procurement Jobs – Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

It may become known as the “Vardy decision” – do I stay in my job, being a big fish in a small pond, or take the plunge into that new, larger organisation where I will be a smaller fish, and might find it altogether more difficult and challenging – but the rewards and potential are perhaps greater?

For non-football aficionados, this is Jamie Vardy, England footballer, who has to decide whether to leave Leicester, the 5000-1 outsiders who amazingly won the English Premiership a few weeks back. He is a real hero in that city and had a brilliant season. But now, should he join Arsenal, a far “bigger” club by most measures, or stick with Leicester? It is a tough decision.

The procurement equivalent might be a Procurement Director for a mid-sized firm – say around £1 billion in revenues and a third-party spend of half that. He or she then gets offered a big job in a giant global pharma, FMCG or Automotive business. But it is not the top procurement position that is proposed but a supporting role – maybe it is a country procurement head, or director of indirect spend, or something like that.  The money is better, and you might get the top job in a couple of years, and the new name will look great on the cv.

On the other hand, you like your current role, the people are good to work with and you might hate it at BigPharma plc. You’re not sure whether your colleagues will be as friendly as your current team – what about those great Thursday night outings? You might also fail, perhaps visibly, in what will be a new and very different environment, which could stain your cv forever.

Many of us will have those sort of decisions to make during our careers. That is what Vardy is going through now, I’m sure. Personally I hope he stays – I don’t see how he will fit into Arsenal’s style of play unless they rebuild the whole team around him which is not going to happen. I could see a disappointing end to his fairy-tale career. And after all, what’s another £30,000 a week when you already get £70,000? (I said this to a friend who replied “it’s another 30 grand a week, that’s what it is”! So I guess it all depends on your perspective).

If you have to make these decisions, then considering a range of factors as we suggested here is clearly the right thing to do, and there are no hard and fast rules. Money is important; but there isn’t a lot of point in being rich but intensely miserable, as many have found over the years. And there is something satisfying about being in charge, most people would say.

Anyway, if I had to generalise I would say people tend to stay too long in jobs they really don’t enjoy, when maybe settling for a lower level position in a better firm would be the right thing to do. But making that sort of move just for the money doesn’t always work out – I’ve seen that too. And it goes without saying – really do the due diligence on the new role. Exactly how senior is it? What real authority will you have? How will you be measured? How is procurement perceived in the organisation?  They’re all the sort of factors that can make or break your happiness and success in any new role.

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