So you want to quit. You’ve likely been kept awake thinking over this decision for a few nights already, tossing and turning in the early hours of the morning weighing up the pros and the cons. But when the decision is made, how do you actually pull the trigger?
Here are three things to consider before you hand in your notice.
1. Know What You Want — And What Would Make You Change Your Mind
Most people who get as far as making an appointment to see their boss and entering his or her office with a resignation note tucked under their arm have already pretty well decided that they want to leave. For a few, there might be something that could convince them to stay.
In some cases, a boss may try to retain an employee, by offering more money, more responsibility or some other kind of benefit. It’s a misnomer that this only happens to employees who have been wall-to-wall exceptional on every day on the job. In some cases, lots of losses in a row could make a company more nervous about losing employees, therefore making them more intent upon retaining existing talent.
It’s helpful if you know exactly what you will stay for; be it an amount of money, an amount of responsibility, or something else entirely. It’s ok to ask for time to think about it if the negotiation takes a turn you weren’t expecting. Keep your redlines clearly in mind and stand by them. Try to avoid expressing uncertainty. If you’re faced with a dilemma, avoid phrases akin to ‘I don’t know’ in favor of ‘I need some time to consider that’.
2. Be Clear, Concise And Leave Little Room For Misinterpretation
Between three and five sentences should be enough to convey the message regarding your departure; any more is waffle. This part is tough for a lot of people. If you know that you tend to ramble when nervous, plan out what you wish to say using shorter sentences where possible. Make a conscious effort to avoid phrasing anything as an apology by accident, and refraining from tacking a ‘but…’ clause onto the end of an otherwise impactful statement.
If you worry that being more blunt could be interpreted as aggression, you can finish your statement with something like ‘I want you to know that this isn’t an easy decision, and I have really enjoyed my time here’.
3. Make Plans For How You Will Keep In Contact — But Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
“Oh, we really must stay in touch!”
We’ve all said it, but how often have we actually followed through?
Sometimes goodbyes are awkward, and the mention of a future drinks date can appear to soften the blow. It’s possible that you might find yourself flooded with emotion on your last day, even if you’re leaving a workplace that you didn’t especially like, and bidding farewell to colleagues that you never really hit it off with. This can be a confusion feeling, but something about ‘an end of an era’ can be discombobulating.
Try to avoid being led by emotion when setting expectations for how and when you will keep up with colleagues. A great way to part is to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation, and make sure the two of you are connected on professional social networks. Once connection external to the office is made, it’s easier to remain in touch if it works for both parties.
Previously published on “Change Becomes You”, a Medium publication.
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