Regardless of how we feel about our job, when we reach the point of deciding it’s time to go, I can’t imagine there are many of us who relish the “I quit” meeting.
Whether you are leaving on good terms or bad, it’s a bit like breaking-up with a partner… Even if you’re quite looking forward to never having to see them again, the dumping bit is always horrible and leaves both parties feeling rubbish.
In my experience, there is a good way to go and a not-so-good way – I’m going to share with you a few tips that may help you get through the process, along with some further advice on how to make it through your notice period (which is normally pretty interesting and you soon learn who does and doesn’t like you!)
There are normally three types of mindset when it comes to leaving. You have those who like the company and their job, but they’re leaving for personal reasons or to further their career.
You’ve then got those who neither like, nor dislike the place. They just want a change.
Finally, you have those who may be disgruntled, fed-up, angry, frustrated. Perhaps they’ve had an unfortunate time at the company, there’s not a great culture, it’s too greater commute for them, they don’t get on with management…
Whatever the cause, it’s vital that if you fall into this category that you don’t quit in the manner in which you’ve been dreaming about for so long…. Storming into the boardroom like a boss, giving everyone a piece of your mind and slamming the door on the way out - never a good idea!
You’ve likely been thinking about this for a while and the time has come. Setup a meeting with your line manager, in the UK it is required to provide in writing confirmation that you wish to terminate your employment.
Draft this letter before your meeting, I normally make note of the date of my last day, with any outstanding holiday either to be given in payment, or to be deducted from the notice period (if permitted).
If you would rather not resign, but find your circumstances influencing your decision – speak to your manager before jumping-in with the ‘I quit’ meeting.
If you have been a good employee, many employers will make provisions to keep you.
During the meeting, it’s most important to stay calm and to not get too hot headed or emotional about your reasons for going. Particularly if you are leaving for negative causes, ranting can make you appear like a bit of a handful, it can also potentially make your reasons appear petty.
Staying calm throughout will enable you to articulate and deliver your points in a professional, organised, adult manner. It can also better demonstrate the seriousness of any potential causes by your calm demeanour and your choosing to move on as a solution.
If you work for a company where perhaps the culture isn’t so good, you might choose to say nothing. As tempting as it may be, if the company is unlikely to take onboard any of your feedback, it might only serve to make your notice period a misery.
"Doing your best is always important, but it’s most important once you’ve decided to leave. Just because you are going, don’t use it as a reason to do a poor job.... You want to be remembered as someone who was nice to have around, did a great job, was accountable and wasn’t a liability."
Once your resignation has been accepted, you’ll have to work your notice. The notice period tends to be based on your level of seniority. In my first job after university I had a 1 week notice. In my next couple of roles they were each 1 month. In my most senior role it was 3 months, so it really does vary.
Doing your job when everyone knows you’re going can be bittersweet. Friends and colleagues who like having you around may feel saddened and hurt, this may make them behave in a way that can feel unfriendly or “offish”.
Meanwhile, colleagues that never liked you in the first place may feel entitled to show it a bit more.
Accept that this will happen, it’s human nature and right now you need to focus on you.
Doing your best job is always important, but it’s most important once you’ve decided to leave. Just because you are going, don’t use it as a reason to do a poor job (however demotivated you may feel).
You want to be remembered as someone who was nice to have around, did a great job, was accountable and wasn’t a liability.
This is particularly true if you are building a reputation and a career for yourself in a professional sector. People talk and it’s not uncommon to bump into people again in the future. So however hard you might be finding it – do the best job and do it for you, your name, and your reputation.
Some employers will host an exit meeting a few days before you go. It’s normally with your line manager and it’s a time to tie-up any loose ends, check that anything you’ve been working on has been passed-on to colleagues and to remind you of that confidentiality agreement you signed when you got the job!
It’s also a great time to get final feedback from your manager. I have previously worked with people who have felt that their manager didn’t like them, or whom possibly bullied them.
Of course this does happen in the workplace, but sometimes the perception of being picked-on is false. Ask yourself if perhaps your manager was simply trying to manage you and you either weren't taking their direction onboard, or perhaps you didn’t understand what they wanted you to do.
As hard as it can be to hear this, if this is the case for you, it’s vital that you accept and look to correct it. Doing so will only serve to help you in your future.
Finally, I wish you good luck and success in your new role, whatever that may be!