Congratulations, if you are reading this blog, you have been offered a new and promising role elsewhere. This opportunity will give you a better benefits package, more responsibility and is really a testament to your hard work over the years. So why does it taste so bittersweet?
Probably because you’re now faced with the fact that you will have to do the dreaded deed of handing in your resignation. It’s all starting to feel so real, and you have a number of worries floating through your mind. How do I bring this up with my boss? What if seem disloyal? Am I burning my bridges? In this article, I aim to identify some more worries like these and explain why they really shouldn’t ruin this exciting time for you.
As soon as you have been offered the job in writing, you have told the recruiter that you happily accept, and crucially, have signed your new contract, it’s time to get a private meeting in the diary with your boss so that you can hand in your resignation. Schedule this meeting sooner rather than later so that it’s not left hanging over you, and in the meantime, keep in mind the below points.
Cover off the below points, remembering that you want to leave on a positive note.
If you wish, you can go into greater detail as to why you are leaving, but this isn’t necessary. There will be a chance to do this during the meeting when you hand in your notice. This brings me onto my next point.
Don’t fret too much about the meeting itself. Nine times out of ten, it will only be awkward if you make it. Remember, your manager is an experienced professional, they will have been in this situation before, and are therefore unlikely to find the meeting uncomfortable.
Your manager will more than likely ask where you are moving on to, and they may ask why. If so, then again, remember that you want to leave on good terms, and talk about the reasons this opportunity is too good to turn down as opposed to why you no longer want to work for the business. Of course, if there are some serious issues that you want to raise for the sake of future employees, by all means, book in some time with HR or use your exit interview as a chance to do this anonymously. This meeting should just be about confirming your resignation, telling your boss about this new role, and thanking them in person for all the support they have given you in getting to this stage in your career.
If you are a valued member of staff and you and your boss have a good relationship, they may find it hard to mask their emotions. In this situation, it’s ok to be empathetic and express your sadness about leaving too. Remember, however, to keep a level-head, and don’t lose sight of what’s best for your career. Your manager will move on, this is just their natural human reaction to some bad news. To put it bluntly, they will get over it.
Of course, if your boss likes you that much, and resources allow, they may well make you a counter offer in the form of a promotion, a pay rise or both. So how do you react?
Whatever you do, don’t accept anything there and then. Give yourself time to weigh up your options and certainly don’t make your decision based on money alone. Instead, think about your long-term career goals and your personal development. Can your current company really meet your ambitions? If so, why haven’t they done this already? Can your new opportunity offer something that your current company just can’t; be it a complete change of industry, role or company size? Throughout your career, it is important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and get an eclectic mix of experience under your belt. You know this. It’s why you went looking for another job in the first place.
I know that during this nerve-wracking time, a familiar work environment is a safe haven, and seems pretty tempting right now, but don’t let your fear of the unknown make that counter offer look better than it really is. You know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Once the deed is done and people know you’re leaving, you may well feel a pang of guilt, especially if you have friends at work and a supportive boss.
Just remember, if your boss is really that supportive, then they will want you to succeed. They will see this step up in your career as a reflection of their people management skills, and they certainly won’t label you as a traitor. They were in your shoes once, how do you think they got to where they are?
As for your work friends, of course, they will be sad to see you go, but true friends support you no matter what. You can always stay in contact, and you never know when your professional paths may cross again. For now, it’s time to put yourself first.
It’s highly unlikely that you will burn any bridges if you follow my above advice, and maintain your professionalism from this point onwards. Don’t let your performance drop even though you’re leaving, and as people approach you to ask why you are moving on, don’t bad mouth the company. On your last day, sincerely thank your managers and colleagues for making your time at the company so special.
Once you have left, stay in contact with your former colleagues. Keep an eye out for any upcoming individual or team successes and send your congratulations their way, be it via email, on social media, or even a card. Use Linkedin to give them some good recommendations and endorsements, like and share their updates, and on the whole, stay fresh in their mind as a great former co-worker and strong professional connection to have.
Hopefully, this blog has helped you to pinpoint exactly why you are worried about handing in your notice, and why these fears should be eclipsed by the bigger picture of what you need to achieve in your career. Remember that when it comes to your wider career goals, you have to be strategic and put yourself first. Any good manager will know this and should support you in this exciting new step towards meeting them. Once you look at this way, there really is no need to be worried about handing in your notice.
Susie is Chief Operating Officer (COO) at UK Government Investments (UKGI). UKGI’s purpose is to be the UK government’s centre of excellence in corporate finance and corporate governance, working across government on some of its most interesting and complex commercial tasks.
In her role as COO, Susie works to ensure that the business has effective operational management, optimal organisational design, and that UKGI are able to hire, develop, manage and remunerate their people in the best way possible.
Prior to joining UKGI, Susie was Global Director for People and Culture at Hays Talent Solutions.
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