Category Archives: Is there a right way to quit your job?

Is There a Right Way to Leave Your Job?

Bonnie Milne, PhD

Bonnie Milne, PhD

This blog post was written in response to the Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “Is there a right way to quit your job?”

Oh my gosh – I hope so.

That’s my first reaction to the question. Like most HR people, I’ve been on both ends of resignations – the receiving and the giving. I was always surprised to receive a resignation because the people who were resigning had been very quiet about their plans until they materialized – that is until they were about to relocate or take on a new job.

I am not sure if I, on the other hand, was that discrete. I don’t have a ‘poker’ face so my intentions are usually quite easily read.

It is very difficult to leave a position without another one in hand so it is difficult to give your employer more than the required notice. I have also seen that those who are too open about their intentions are sidelined early. They are slowly, or sometimes quickly, excluded from the decision making process. Their colleagues disengage from them almost as a defense. After all, when you decide to leave an organization, it is the people you are leaving, and they will have an emotional response. While they may be happy for you, they may feel abandoned.

I remember one time when I resigned from a small organization to take on a new position and right after I announced that I was leaving, my colleague, who didn’t have another position to go to, also resigned. It turned out that she was fed up and thought leaving was the logical thing to do.

Unfortunately, although she felt fantastic at the time, it took a while for her to find work.
Something to think about is your letter of resignation which needs to stress the positive aspects of the job you are leaving. Sometimes a humourous resignation letter is in order, but only if you are on good terms with your supervisor!

Nathaniel Koloc, co-founder and CEO of ReWork, cites three reasons to leave your job, which I’ve elaborated on.

1. It just isn’t sustainable –it takes too much time, you don’t get paid enough or you simply hate going to work every day. I had two colleagues, in different organizations, who told me that every day before they could muster up the courage to go into their offices, they sat in their cars and cried. Can you imagine? One of them toughed it out and her boss eventually retired, the other one asked for a move and she is much happier now. Interestingly neither of them resigned.

2. It Isn’t Furthering Your Professional Development – our work should stretch us – not diminish us. We should have opportunities to learn and to expand our professional horizons, build communities of practice and mentor others. If these opportunities are not available, or our salaries don’t allow us to pursue, them then it is time to think about looking for something new.

3. Something Else (Way Better) Comes Along – Hmm – give your head a shake. This one should be a no-brainer, but many of us procrastinate, ‘Oh my resume isn’t quite ready!’ That’s my favorite! We let the opportunity pass by. Really, what is the worst that could happen? Take a chance, submit a gracious letter of resignation and move toward your dream!

Molly Ford has some great ideas for when the time comes for your to tender your resignation. Her advice includes: tell your boss first, and then your colleagues, all in person. Have a transition plan – make sure those loose ends are tied up, and prepare your reason for leaving. Keep it positive, as she notes; your colleagues are staying and there is no reason to make them feel badly about their work place, or, for that matter, about you! Her last piece of advice is to stay in touch.

I have resigned from a number of jobs and amazingly returned to three different organizations after resigning, including the one where I’m currently employed. So I know the value of staying positive and staying in touch. I usually update my former colleagues on my career and depending on how close we are, on my personal life as well. I follow up on their moves and provide encouragement.
I read recently that people have become commodities and we have to treat ourselves as a product. While I find that a very callous way of thinking about myself and my life; I do find that relationships often provide unexpected opportunities and that staying ‘up to date’ and ‘in the loop’ makes a positive difference in my career.

Food for thought, when it is time to tender that resignation!

Tips for Leaving the Right Way

This blog post was written in response to the Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “Is there a right way to quit your job?”

Michelle Yao

Michelle Yao

Most of us have been there, finding the perfect job for you, while still working in your current job. We face the dilemma of what to do. Now there are good and bad ways to leave your job, but the preferred way is always to leave on good, or at least neutral terms. It’s always important that a former employer doesn’t have a bad impression of you. You never know who they know or who they might have a connection to. So in the spirit of leaving a job the right way, I thought I’d share some tips with you.

1.    Don’t let others know before you tell your boss

News travels fast, especially interesting, new news. It’s always professional courtesy to let your supervisor know what is happening first.

2.    Block off time to tell your boss in person

Letting your boss know in person is the most respectful, mature way to approach this matter.

3.    Give appropriate transition time

Two weeks is the general timeline. This gives you time to close off files and hand off projects.

4.    Make a transition binder

Sometimes you may not have time to do this, but leaving your replacement with a binder/guide enables them to understand your roles and responsibilities and shows your former employer that you are trying to proactively ease the transition.

5.    Ask for an exit interview

This will enable both you and your boss to discuss the challenge, successes and opportunities related to your job

While this is not an exhaustive list, it provides a frame when approaching this situation. Remember respect is key, as is courtesy. You want to approach leaving a job with the idea in mind that you should act as you would like others to act in this situation. When in doubt it is also very helpful to consult with a former Manager/Supervisor, or even a career coach, and to discuss any other suggestions/thoughts with them. It is also important to keep in mind that what works for some, may not work for you. So compile your own list of tips and tricks – decide what you are comfortable with when making your decision public.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Christine Ramage, CHRP

Christine Ramage, CHRP

This blog post was written in response to the Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “Is there a right way to quit your job?”

I’ve heard it said that employees don’t leave jobs, they leave Managers. I will agree that a strong relationship with a manager an employee likes and respects goes a long way to staying at a job, but there will be times- and job offers- that compete with a great boss any day. That being said, I think that the employment relationship is like any relationship in life: it takes two sides to make it happen and that respectful, open and honest communication is key. Performance reviews keep employees performing and on track and allow for dialogue about career development and accompanying plans.

If the job the employee is in isn’t satisfying their needs financially, or developmentally, chances are the employees will leave- either way, it shouldn’t be a secret or a surprise.

If your mind is made up, and you have begun interviewing and if you feel it’s fair and appropriate, give your manager a heads up that your worklife isn’t working for you anymore; if you go about this in the right way, perhaps some open dialogue can positively and constructively impact your current role enough that your boss can sway you to stay. If not, at least you’ve been honourable with your boss that things need to change for you. This is a tricky path to walk so again, some circumstances this approach is appropriate and in some it’s not and may very well get you walked out the door! This is also the time that if its appropriate you can ask your current manager to be a reference for your next job- this request is easier if the new opportunity is one that your current Manager cannot offer you. Also, don’t lie about where you have been if you have been out on an interview. Either take a vacation day (or half day) or schedule interviews around your current work schedule. Having 2 doctors appointments the week before you resign screams “I was lying about where I really was…”.

But, to my main point about ‘quitting your job’, do it face to face. Like a breakup, suck it up and be honest. Request an appointment with your manager and tell them that you’ve accepted another opportunity and that you are giving your notice. Make sure you give at least 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks if you are supervisory and above, and offer to help create a transition plan for your work and knowledge. Give it in writing to protect your butt and your employers, if you don’t they will likely ask for it down the road. If you want to be a rock star, offer to update your job description or posting (if appropriate) for posting for a replacement, and begin tracking and documenting your work so that whoever replaces you has reference notes.

Be sensitive, tell your co-workers next, then keep a lid on your news until your manager has the opportunity to announce it to the organization. And last but not least, leave on a positive note- continue to work hard, uphold your standards and work ethic and try to take a few days off in between leaving you old job and starting your new job so you are well rested!

Is There a Right Way to Quit your Job?

Gareth Cartman

Gareth Cartman

This blog post was written in response to the Coffee Shop HR World Café topic: “Is there a right way to quit your job?”

“It’s not you, it’s me”… is what you’re meant to say.

There’s no easy way to quit your job, even when it’s pleasurable. You feel that you’re going to upset someone. You feel that someone’s going to be put out by your decision to move on and “fly the nest”.

Think again, though. If your business is put out at the thought of you leaving, then perhaps it’s not “fit for business”. If they’re going to be upset at your departure, that implies that you’re more important than you thought you were, and they’re not as prepared as they should be for the inevitable departure of their employees. If they value you so highly, they don’t deserve you.

You should only be worried if they roll out the bunting.

So is there any good way of quitting your job? How can you leave an organisation with a cheery goodbye and a pat on the back – and crucially, avoid being the one who gets blamed for everything that goes wrong for the next 6 months?

You have to do it right, for a multitude of reasons – you might meet these people a few years from now. You might even need a reference.

It’s all about timing

If you’re just starting a major project, or you’re halfway through it, handing in your notice is not going to be received well. It shows you don’t care – and as a result, you won’t be cared about too much during your notice period, or after it.

And quite right, too. You’re acting like a toddler. At least they have developing brains as an excuse (or so they claim). Stick around to see the job out, and then you can hand in your notice – you’ll be all the more appreciated for doing so, and won’t be seen as burning your bridges.

It’s not all about you

Remember, everyone leaves their job at some point. Otherwise, you become a “lifer” – one of those ghosts that walk around the same company they’ve been at since they were 14, having received twelve watches, three plaques and a massive leg of ham. Nobody works for legs of ham. You always have to move on, for sanity’s sake as much as progress.

But it’s not all about you. If your departure is going to disrupt the work of colleagues, then ensure that a smooth transition is in place. Promise to see out your full notice, and train someone else up to carry on your work. Promise to complete a certain workload, and work your notice period as you would any other. Perhaps you could even offer to support the interview process for your replacement.

Again, keep that goodwill. You never know, you might be working with these people in another organisation later down the line.

Remember, some people like their jobs

If you’ve just handed in your notice, and you’re thinking of trashing the company every day, putting your feet up and tripling your coffee breaks, have a little respect. There are people all around you who are trying to get ahead in their lives and their jobs – people who may – whisper it – still like their jobs.

There may be newbies around you who haven’t developed your level of cynicism yet. Give them time to grow into it. Don’t bang on about how brilliant your new job is, and don’t bang on about how crap your current job might be.

Again, you’re being a toddler. The business hasn’t changed – you have – and it’s time for you to move on. So do it quietly, and have some respect for those who aren’t yet ready to move on, or who view the business through a different lens.

Some things you should definitely avoid

Above all, please try to avoid doing the following:

· Handing in your notice by text message
· Being overly joyous about your imminent departure
· Calling your boss names and thinking you can get away with it
· Hiding dead fish inside computer towers on your last day
· Updating your Linkedin status to “Released from prison”
· Changing your screensaver to a countdown to your last day
· Whistling the tune to “I’m free to do whatever I want” as you walk around the office