According to some estimates you can expect to have an average of 12 jobs in your lifetime. But in order to start your new role, you’ll need to resign from your old one, so it’s important to get your resignation right.
Unfortunately, the art of resigning from your role can be a tricky one to perfect. So how do you resign gracefully without burning your boats?
This is the first article in a new series guiding you through the stages of resigning from your role so you can leave the best possible way. We'll start with the tricky process of telling your manager you’re going.
Timing is everything
Telling your manager you’re planning to leave isn’t always easy, so it’s no surprise that employees often leave it till the end of the day to have that all-important conversation. However, in my own conversations with managers, they often say they prefer their employee to tell them in the morning, rather than at the end of the day.
Telling your manager early shows confidence and consideration. Plus, let’s face it: how much work would you really get done that day, knowing you’ll be ending it with a potentially difficult conversation? It’s never going to be an easy one but overthinking it will only lead to you scaring yourself with unpleasant scenarios which probably won’t happen anyway.
It’s better to rip off the plaster and get it done early. You’ll feel better and your manager will have the day to digest the news, rather than being ambushed on their way out of work.
Know your notice period
Before you sit down to have that all-important conversation with your manager, it’s crucial to make sure you’ve read through your employment contract so that you know exactly what notice period you’re on and where you stand legally in terms of annual leave.
Some companies will put you on garden leave, where they pay you to work your notice but don’t have you in the office; others will let you go early if requested; some will want you to work it through to the bitter end. Knowing exactly how long your notice period is will help you and your manager to plan the transition in a way that helps you both.
Remember: your exit from the company won’t just leave a gap in the amount of work being done; it will also create additional work in the form of recruiting your replacement. That means that if your manager asks you to work your notice period, then it’s best for future relationships to honour that. It also helps to shows your new employer that you’re loyal and have strong values, something that could stand you in good stead in your new role.
Honesty is the best policy
Although you know why you want to leave and why this new role is your dream job, your manager may not. Before you walk into the meeting, make sure you’re clear with yourself about why the new role is more suitable for you.
As you discuss your reasons for leaving with your manager, try to be as tactful as possible and avoid making it seem like an attack on your current company. Point out the positives of your current role, then follow up with the things that make the new one different and more suitable for you.
If it was a head hunt – tell them. If you took days to deliberate because you were unsure if you wanted to leave – let them know. The aim is to make your manager realise that taking this new opportunity is about career or personal gain, and not about you hating your current role. This will protect your manager’s feelings and can go a long way towards determining how the next few days, weeks or months will go as you work out your notice.
Don’t get caught up in the emotions
Before you walk into your meeting, it’s always useful to think ahead and consider what your manager might say. Facing up to this early on will help you to deal with the emotions your conversation might raise, and makes you less likely to be guilted, dazzled or even manipulated into taking a counteroffer.
It’s possible that you really like your manager: they could be the one you go for beers with on a Friday night or someone you can have a natter with about life’s little problems. On the other hand, it could be that you actually don’t like them at all, and they are the main reason you’re leaving. Either way, it’s essential not to let these emotions get in the way of the conversation. Prioritise facts over feelings!
If you haven’t already handed in your resignation letter, now is definitely the time to do so. In the next article I’ll discuss exactly how to get this important document right.
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