Everybody resigns from a job some time. We have all done it and most of us will do it again before we retire. It is never easy to resign; telling your manager that you are leaving your role is an extremely awkward and difficult conversation for most people to have. However, almost ironically, it is the easiest part of the transition into your new role. The most difficult part and the part that is most memorable is how you behave during and after your notice period.
Let me cache this blog by saying that in my role, I have worked with hundreds of people who have changed jobs and I have managed hundreds of people who have moved on (when I say that out aloud it really does not sound great). I have had people leave and return months or years later. I have had people walk out the door and never speak with me again. I have been both gutted and ecstatic when people have left my employ and this has given me a relatively unique perspective on how to leave a job professionally. Below are some of my tips:
- Resign in a dignified manner. Be planned and humble and whatever you do, do not go into your resignation meeting with attitude. Do it personally and face to face where possible. Be calm and avoid any emotional outbursts. Follow your resignation meeting with a resignation letter where possible.
- Work out your notice. Ensure that you are fully aware of your contractual obligation prior to resigning and be prepared to work it out fully. Notice periods are designed to allow your employer to ensure that your work is properly handed over and transitioned so it causes minimal disruption to the business. Trying to cut notice periods short immediately changes the nature of your working relationship and often leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
- Don’t take the p..s. This one is a little controversial but one that needs to be said. Last impressions count as much as first impressions and if there is one way to ruin a working relationship it is to start to slacken off during your notice period. Sick leave is just that; leave for when you may be ill. It is not a substitute for annual leave. I met with a client last week who had just resigned and he was planning his three month notice and he brazenly said that he needed to fit in seven sick days in there because his sick leave does not get paid out. I was in shock but he felt as though he had earned these days and they must pay him out. I wonder how he would have felt if the “shoe was on the other foot”. He was also planning multiple lunches and farewells and was going to avoid doing any work at all.
- Be sensitive. Losing a team member can be very difficult for an employer so remember to show some sensitivity for them, particularly if they have arranged a farewell for you. Try not to brazenly promote your new career too quickly because it can be seen as very offensive. Remember that the employer you are resigning from today maybe the employer providing you with a reference in two years time.
- Avoid office bitchiness. Sometimes, when you leave a role, it can feel as though you have nothing to lose by voicing your opinions. Sometimes this is a fair and reasonable thing to do and sometimes it can be very healthy however you need to be aware that the line between constructive and destructive can be very thin. Be careful about what you say to whom and remember that these things have a way of being blown out of all proportion.
- Remember to say thank you. It never fails to amaze me how few people actually take the time to thank their employer when they leave. The emotion of the moment sees the person become very self-centred and the thought to actually thank the employer for the opportunity afforded to them is far from the mind. Recently, I had a lady leave me after working with me for only 18 months and she wrote a card to me and some of her other managers. Her message was simple and heart felt and it was such a wonderful gesture that meant a lot to me and others.
The biggest lesson about resignations is to remember that how you leave an organisation is just as important as how you start at one. You do not want to be known as the person who went out with a blaze of glory in a fit of raw emotion. It is far better to be known as the person who worked professionally until the end, who left with humility and dignity and who will always be welcomed back. That is how the young lady who left me recently conducted herself. It left a great impression on me. She will be sorely missed and always welcomed back.
Brad McMahon – Director