Quit like Klopp: We should be more like Jurgen and know when we need a change - Lynette Fay

Knowing that a change is needed or might be of benefit can be difficult to recognise in a world of burnout and burden. It takes courage too, says Lynette Fay

Lynette Fay

Lynette Fay

Lynette is an award winning presenter and producer, working in television and radio. Hailing from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, she is a weekly columnist with The Irish News.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool FC at the end of the season, a rare example of someone choosing to quit while they're at the top (Nick Potts/PA)

Last Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp Valentine cards were big business.:‘I will never leave you like Klopp’. These were a shrewd, entrepreneurial move in the wake of the shock announcement that this season would be Klopp’s last as manager of Liverpool Football Club.

When he broke the news, I was one of many who immediately phoned the Liverpool fan in their life to check in that they were OK. This decision came out of nowhere.

To many, Klopp has the best job in the world. Why on earth would he want to give it up? His reason is that he knows that working continuously at this level is just not sustainable. Jurgen is quitting while he is ahead, and legions of Liverpool fans are understandably devastated.

I admire him for making this decision. It’s a mark of the man. Let’s face it, we can all think of a football manager who has perhaps diluted their legacy by staying in a particular job too long.

Greim an fhir bháite is a great idiom in the Irish language. The drowned man’s grasp. Desperation. All too often we see this happen when someone refuses to give up a position of power. Sport, business, media.

It takes confidence and acute self-awareness to cut the chord and quit while you’re ahead. Going stale in any job is never good. It takes a mature, self-assured person to recognise that a particular race is run and it is time to move on to the next chapter.

I find that these kinds of people – who constantly dream it all up again - are the great leaders, the ones who don’t let things go stale, who have energy that excites and drives others as well as themselves.

Someone like Jurgen Klopp, as he steps away from his current post, will find himself in the prized and privileged position of being able to take time out – whether it is to rest, spend time with family or work out what’s next for him.

Deciding to make a change doesn’t happen overnight. Choosing the right time to move on is difficult, and sometimes transition can take years.

Of course, taking time to think about change is a luxury. For some, change is forced on them, with redundancy, injury or an unexpected change in circumstances.

Burnout can also force change. Burnout is becoming increasingly common as employers expect more and more of employees, often for the same pay. Too often the signs of burnout are ignored before it is too late, and that can leave workers feeling resentful, dissatisfied and aggrieved. Not a healthy cocktail of emotions in the workplace. Plus, life is hard at the moment, and that is bound to be taking a toll on energy levels.

My generation, Generation X, has been conditioned to think that the one type of job or industry is for life. Once you hit a certain age, you could be deemed past it, so the idea of change becomes frightening, even if it never was before.

If you are in a stable, pensionable job, what’s the point in changing that? Pensions become more important as we get older. Responsibilities, families, bills needing paid lead a lot of people to stay in a job they might not necessarily enjoy or like because it is what has to be done. This is particularly pertinent for women.

Knowing that a change is needed, or might benefit you, can be difficult to recognise. There is a messy middle ground of random thought processes to muddle through, in order to streamline some sort of progression plan. We tend to be in a hurry to get to the next step. Everything needs sorted out immediately and a plan put in place.

Make the change and the rest will follow is advice that is easy to offer, but the first step towards any change is incredibly difficult to take. All the clichés come into play. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Fortune favours the brave, they say. There is a fine line between courage and madness.

Making the change might just be worth it, if the alternative is staying in a job that no longer serves you well and feels like it is less than you deserve.