With consumer and business confidence improving, many employees will be thinking of moving on in the coming months.
Leaving an employer is never easy. The first step is confronting the inevitable reality of resigning. What follows can be a rollercoaster of emotions and whatever the circumstances of the resignation, it is rarely a stress-free experience for both parties.
Here are tips to on how to leave professionally:
It’s a small world
It is estimated that a person will hold an average of 10 jobs in his lifetime. People are changing jobs more often, which means that every colleague is a potential boss and every manager is a potential employee.
Make sure you treat your peers, colleagues and managers with respect, whatever your personal feelings about them. Once you have made your decision to resign, be discreet about who you tell before it is officially announced.
If you are tempted to share your frustrations, stop and think again. Venting to friends and colleagues through social networks or crafting hate e-mails to your boss will make a lasting impression, so resist the temptation to broadcast your thoughts. It may have potentially damaging consequences.
Be aware of the impact
If you are resigning for reasons that are very positive for you personally, it is important to understand that this decision may not be good news for your colleagues. Often, once someone decides to leave, others may follow in a ripple effect, so managers can feel very stressed and pressured as a result.
Check what you signed up for
Make sure you know the conditions of your contract, specifically your notice period and any restrictions you committed yourself to.
This may include (depending on your industry) working for a competitor or taking clients with you. You may also want to confirm your rights in case you want to negotiate an early exit.
Resign for the right reasons
Make sure you have thought your decision through and considered all options before making your announcement to resign. Don’t resign as an emotional knee-jerk reaction to a bad day, week, month or quarter.
Approach the situation with a clear head, manage your emotions and choose your words carefully. Most importantly, be professional about it.
Timing is key
There is a common misconception that telling your boss you are leaving should be done on a Friday afternoon to avoid dealing with the immediate consequences.
Making time earlier in the week in a private meeting space is the best way to make your verbal resignation. Resigning during the working week gives everyone involved time to absorb the decision and consider their options.
You may want to open the conversation by thanking your boss for making the time to meet and go straight to the point.
Most people experience nerves when sharing bad news with their boss, so focus on your key messages. These include your decision to resign; when you intend to leave; what the next steps are (usually in a written letter confirming your resignation); and your appreciation for the experience, support and opportunities rendered to you during your employment.
Your manager may ask why you have decided to resign and what your future plans are. It may be a good idea to run through the conversation with a trusted confidante.
If you have specific feedback about your manager, the company or the role, the exit interview is the time and place to share it with an appropriate staff member. Resist the temptation to rant. The exit interview is an excellent opportunity to let the company know exactly why you are leaving, without burning your bridges.
The resignation letter
This is a formal confirmation of your intention to leave your role or company, and is typically covered after the resignation meeting.
The letter should be short and to the point. Include details such as confirmation of leave days, final pay or your last day. Any issues or feedback should be given in a formal exit interview. A letter of thanks should also be kept separate.
Take a break
If possible, consider taking a short break before starting your new role or your next plan of action. Exercise and meditation are also good ways of releasing any negative stress and frustrations in your last role.
A key reason to take a step back is that identifying the right job for you and looking for a new position — if you haven’t found one prior to resigning — can be a full-time job in itself.
Planning your job search from a self-marketing and networking perspective, plus sifting through job ads, exploring the hidden job market, lodging applications and attending interviews can be time-consuming and requires your full commitment and a well-planned approach. Committing time to the process will produce the results you seek.