While some employees fear lay-offs, often my clients find themselves in the happy position of accepting a new job and saying good-by to a current employer. Many admit they’re nervous about telling a current boss they’re leaving.
And if you’ve held the same job for a long time, you may be wondering how to resign gracefully yet still protect your own longer-term career
Even senior corporate executives can be nervous about making the departure announcement. They’re afraid the boss will be angry. They feel guilty about the work they’re leaving behind. Maybe someone else has to take up the slack for awhile.
So they wonder how to resign gracefully yet still protect their own longer-term career plans.
They suspect their departure style will influence their careers for a long time.
Here are some guidelines to move to your next position with the same professionalism you bring to your job.
1. Give the correct amount of notice required by your company’s written policy – and no more.
It’s easy to feel sorry for your former colleagues. So you stick around an extra week (or even an extra month). Inevitably, they you to feel like a fifth wheel. Nearly everyone says, “Next time I’m leaving right away!”
2. After you leave, do not agree to “help out” your former company.
Your boss required two weeks notice – but belatedly realized she needs four weeks for a smooth transition to your successor.
Your boss made a business decision to require two weeks notice.
When she miscalculates, she needs to accept the cost, just as she’d accept the cost of late payments to a supplier.
If your company needs additional help, offer to work as a paid consultant with a contract. But get everything in writing and make sure your new job becomes your Number One priority.
3. Study your current and future company policies regarding disclosures and no-compete agreements.
Some companies are extremely proprietary about their process and their people. Once you resign, you may have to leave the workplace immediately. Or your new company may ask you not to work for your former employer, even on a part-time basis.
4. Resign to your boss in person, if at all possible.
Phone is second best. And tell the boss before you tell anyone else except close family.
5. Expect your boss to be professional.
It’s not unusual to fear the boss’s reaction. However, bosses rarely are caught by surprise. Good bosses are happy to see their employees move ahead. Thank her for the opportunity to learn, which has led to your newest and most wonderful career move.
6. Be gracious to your boss and your coworkers, even if you hate them all and can’t wait to leave.
You may regard them more fondly through a haze of memories, away from the glare of office lighting. You may encounter them at conventions and networking groups. And most likely you will benefit from strong references and goodwill.
7. Decline a counter-offer.
Recruiters consistently tell me, “Sixty percent of those who accept a counter-offer are gone in six months.” If you decide to stay, get a written job contract.
Exception: Some organizations commonly make counter-offers as part of their HR model. A few companies and industries actually demand proof of an outside offer before offering you any kind of internal raise or reward. College professors often work in this environment.
8. Treat the exit interview as a business formality, not a therapy session.
When a Human Resource professional asks why you are leaving, be upbeat and positive: “for a better opportunity.” Talk about how much you loved the company and your job. You never know where your comments will turn up, mangled and misinterpreted.
9. Resist entreaties to share the details of your future position with anyone.
Occasionally a colleague will try to assess your salary or other information “so we can stay competitive in recruiting.”
Helping your company recruit is not part of your job and anyway, do you really believe this?
Details of your future employment should remain confidential, even from your close friends in the company.
10. Focus on your new opportunity – not your past experience.
Once you’re gone, you’re history. The very same folks who loved meeting you for lunch will barely remember your name a week later.
And, if you haven’t changed jobs for a while you may be in for a shock. Your first day in a new position can be a real eye-opener! If you’ve been working with a career coach or consultant, keep the number handy. Some people even make an appointment to talk to their consultant a week or two into the new job.
If you’d like to strategize any aspect of your career, let’s set up a call. Click here for the details.