Most people dread resigning. Whatever the reason for leaving, giving notice is not easy.
But even if you hate your job so much you can’t bear to stay, it pays to think before you act.
Never resign until you have written confirmation of a new post, no matter how eager you are. Once you have an offer in writing and have accepted it, decide precisely what you are going to tell your boss, then write it down in a letter of resignation. If you are leaving because you have bad feelings about your employer, don’t be tempted to say exactly what you think, in writing or verbally. Leaving under bad circumstances won’t do you any good – be firm and businesslike and remember that you may need a reference.
Next, fix a meeting with your manager, department head or whoever you have to give notice to. Don’t delay this meeting because there are statutory obligations on both sides when someone leaves permanent employment and you will have probably agreed a start date at your next job.
Don’t feel guilty about resigning – you are entitled to follow your chosen path of employment. It may come as a shock to your boss, but if you keep the conversation professional, show appreciation for the time you have spent with the company, and keep emotion to one side, you may find sympathy and agreement with your move. Be prepared for an attempt to persuade you to stay. If you are tempted, remember your reasons for wanting to move.
Research by recruitment consultants has found that 86% of people who accept counter offers still leave within six months of deciding to stay with their present company. Be aware that if you show any doubts about leaving, it will leave you open to tactics like:
- Bad mouthing: Some companies are desperate not to lose staff and you may hear worrying information about your new company. Don’t respond to adverse remarks, but contact the new company or your recruitment agency.
- Emotional blackmail: Companies can apply real pressure to get good staff to stay with threats not to pay wages or give a bad reference. Your rights are protected by law, so remember these are just threats and seek advice.
- Sudden promotion: You may be offered a promotion to change your mind, but has anything really changed in your decision to leave? If not, politely decline.
If you have serious doubts, talk to somebody in confidence – someone in HR, a close friend or family member. Once you have decided to move, keep in touch with your new employer. They will be awaiting your start date as keenly as you and it helps them to know that everything is going to plan at your end.