Leaving a job is often a difficult step. Sure, there is the exciting opportunity to do something different, but if have been with an employer for over a year this can become an emotional step. People leave jobs for various reasons. The old job might just plain and simple suck. The pay is lousy and the boss is behaving like a dictator of a 3rd world country. Or the job might be target of outsourcing and the employee is pro-active by looking for his/her own way out. Or the job is a dead end. No opportunity and the daily routine is boring. It could also be that the immediate co-workers and managers are just not as nice and that there is no great work relationship that makes the employee to love to go to work. A not so exciting job can still be a great place to work if you have great co-workers and managers around. Work is about money, but the socializing part is important, too.
We’re not trying to get into the reasons for leaving a job here for the matter of this article. However – we want to concentrate on the actual part of resigning from a job. And again – there are several different ways of leaving a job. If you absolutely do not care about your old job you could just leave but this step can have severe impact on your career down the road. Keep in mind that employers like to check the places you worked at before they want to hire you. These sins of the past might come back and hurt your reputation. “Oh, he left that job without any notice. What if he does the same thing to me?” – This could be just one thought a new employer might have. Depending on the job a one week or two week notice should be given. In some cases 3-4 weeks can be appropriate. As higher you get up in the ranks this might be the way to go. An executive leaving a company without taking care of a proper transition might hurt himself if the company gets into problems afterwards and this becomes public knowledge. Treat the employer fair and do not burn any bridges. In the long run this will be the best decision an employee can make.
When resigning you should be prepared to avoid unnecessary stress. In most cases resigning is a stressful event. A well prepared employee can take some stress out of this big step with proper planning. Write a 2 or 3 line letter of resignation. Nothing fancy. Try not to explain why you leave. Just state that you are resigning from your position and let the company know what your last day at work will be. Sign the letter and hand it to the manager you are resigning to. Do not just turn over the letter and walk away. Say that you are resigning and then hand over the letter of resignation. Be prepared to answer questions why you are leaving. Do not make up things. Prepare a quick list of pain points if needed. You might even help your co-workers by giving constructive feedback about certain situations and problems. I personally recommend never to mention the word money as the main reason of leaving. If things come down to money if often gets dirty.
Eventually be prepared for an immediate counter-offer during your resignation. Some companies try to fix the problem of an employee leaving by throwing more money at him/her. Or they want to buy time and pretend giving you more money. They give you more money but work on your replacement at the same time. Things might also work out Ok for a while but when the going gets tough and it comes to layoffs the guy who took the counter-offer might be one of the first ones to be let go because of the cost factor. I see only one situation when it can be good or Ok to accept a counter-offer. Say you are leaving because of the work environment and you are able to point out problems and issues. Some employers are blind about these things and just don’t realize how employees feel about certain things. Suddenly a good employees leaves and the issue comes to the surface. Some employers are willing to fix the issue and these are rare situations a counter-offer can be accepted. Still – the employee has to carefully evaluate the situation. It is important to know who you are dealing with from a personal side. Can you trust the employer?
Sometimes a counter-offer can come up during the last few days at a company or shortly after the last day. We have seen cases when counter-offers were made within 60-70 days after the employee left. These situations are not good. I highly recommend not to accept such a counter-offer no matter how tempting the offer is. The employee has to keep in mind that he/she already left. This mark will always stick. One day the employer might be in a different situation and has to decide who to let go first. Will it be the loyal employee who is with the company for 8 years or is it the “Gung-Ho” who left just to be lured back by money and who eventually leaves again if the next employer is willing to hand out even more cash? Make a bet ….
These are just a few things to keep in mind when thinking about resigning from a position. Be prepared. Be strong. Change can be very good for your career.