Published July 17, 2012
Resigning from your job is probably one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your working life.
Right alongside disagreeing with your boss to his face, it’s a moment that you wish could just be taken out of your hands and perfectly acceptable to employ a third party to handle.
In fact, resigning from a job is such a daunting prospect that some people even choose to just leave their jobs and go AWOL, leaving their former employer to read between the lines.
It’s human nature to be scared of the unknown. Are you letting your former team down? Will your boss look at you in utter contempt? Or will your boss have a defining moment of admiration for you and throw a curveball, offering you a substantial salary increase and a gentle nod of acceptance that you and only you are an indispensible member of the team?
Probably not, but nonetheless, you need to consider the following things before asking for that “quick word.”
1. Do You Have Another Job?
It’s always easier to find a job when you’re in a job. Before resigning, make sure that you’ve got everything lined up and can have a smooth transition into a new role. You might even want to have a couple of weeks off, as it’s always good to have a short break between jobs. Where you don’t want to end up is a situation where you’re left with no money and worrying about things like how to manage your credit card or paying looming utility bills. Life, unfortunately, isn’t always greener on the other side.
2. Will You Actually Leave?
I mentioned that your employer may offer the opportunity to stay at the company, but seeing as it’s unlikely, it might be worthwhile going in with a plan B. If secretly you want to stay at the company, but you’re considering resigning because you want a couple more grand, a fancier title or your own executive mug, you might want to dangle this contractual apple in the face of your bosses. They might just take a bite. (But remember: Don’t threaten to leave if you won’t follow through. That’s just awkward for everyone, and you might find yourself asked to leave instead.)
3. Is This Addressed in Your Contract?
If you’re not leaving on the best of terms, you might want to make a Hollywood departure, striding out of the office in your suit, aviators poised in front of those ice cool eyes, ready to hit the big time on your own. You’ll leave in an air of confidence, smelling like victory and make it known that this will go down as a monumental moment in corporate history.
Though before this extravagant departure, you might just want to take a peek at your contractual agreements. It could be that in leaving in this manner, you might not be entitled to your last month’s salary or you might screw up your share rights–and it’s entirely possible that you might just take some shine off of that written reference you need.
4. Do You Owe Them Anything?
If you’re not contemplating walking out of the office like you’re in a Denzel Washington movie, you might want to take a softer approach when leaving and offer to help your employer find a replacement. Taking this approach, you still get the same level of satisfaction that you are indeed an important member of the team, but crucially, it may leave a door open for your return as you are a recognized team player. If they’ve helped you out in your first job or given you significant opportunities, consider finding your employer a suitable, if marginally less adequate, replacement your returning favor.
Scott Cole is a writer who specialises in employment advice, credit card advice (which you can read at Vanquis.co.uk) and living frugally.
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