Resigning from your job is often a bit of a rollercoaster – excited by your new position you will be keen to press on and resign, your focus will be on how your line manager will initially react. However, there are a few other things to take in to account. Here are some of the classic points that candidates have mentioned to me in the past:
- Buyback – You may be offered an incentive to stay with your employer, otherwise known as ‘buy-back.’ I have chosen to highlight this first as, contrary to the nonsense spouted by many within the world of recruitment, I do not believe that ‘buy-back’ is necessarily a bad thing. Depending on your motivation to leave (more money, promotion, change of direction etc.), if your current employer offers you what you want then it won’t necessarily be the end of the world if you choose to stay. Some line managers may take your decision to resign personally, but if they are mature and are able to offer you what you want to stay then that might be the right decision. What I would say is, do not accept anything other than a formal offer/contract specifying the changes. Where buyback does often go wrong for the candidate is when the employer reneges on ‘verbal’ promises. If you would like a slightly longer debunking of the counter-offer myth, Mitch Sullivan’s blog makes excellent and succinct reading! whats-the-real-truth-behind-counter-offers
- Hero to Zero – Some employers will take your decision to leave personally so if you know your line manager well you will probably be prepared for this. If they are an emotional individual be prepared for a negative reaction. Stay calm; this will often pass once the line manager calms down. They will often come back to you in the future with their blessing…or not at all!
- The Fire Exit – Yep, we have all heard about removal via fire exit, and it does happen on a remarkably regular basis. You will probably know whether this is likely to happen, based on previous corporate behaviour. It is worth ensuring that you have recorded contact details from your phone / laptop if there is a risk you will have it removed from your possession for confidentiality reasons. It is also worth compiling a list of ‘must’ calls to colleagues to let them know in the aftermath that you are leaving. Noses will be put out of joint if you don’t deliver the message personally.
- The silent treatment – Depending on the personality of your line manager, or indeed whether they are under pressure, you might find yourself on the receiving end of…nothing. Complete radio silence. Keep professional and see your notice period out without incident.
- Communication lockdown – Candidates often find the most difficult element post- resignation is being locked out of communications. In all likelihood you will be removed from group email lists, conference calls and other formal communication methods. Don’t take this personally or feel that you are no longer valued; it is merely the business protecting its confidentiality and learning how to cope without you!
- A mixed reaction from your team – It is great for the ego when you resign and employees break out in floods of tears but equally don’t be surprised if one or two employees are indifferent or worse. Be prepared to factor in additional support for the team members you have made a tangible difference to. A call to each team member after an announcement is never forgotten, even if you didn’t always get along on a personal level.
- Rebellion – well maybe not quite so dramatic (!) but once you have informed your team and, depending on your notice period (3-6 months is often the most problematic period), you may find that your team stop responding to you in the same way they have done previously. Your and their priorities have changed and you should accept that. Don’t be surprised if there is some political manoeuvring, your team will be keen to impress your line manager. There is an opportunity for you to sponsor one of your team for your own position so it is worth thinking about this ahead of your resignation.
- Ever decreasing motivation levels – You will of course believe that, as you’re normally highly energetic and motivated, nothing will change post-resignation, that you will remain ultra professional. Well, a lot changes mentally when you resign but perhaps more importantly and due to some of the above points, the scope for what you can achieve changes. Be prepared for your motivation levels to drop significantly – that board meeting or store visit won’t have quite the same edge. Look for opportunities to do things that you didn’t quite find the time for previously – it might be a good time to get back to the ‘shop-floor’ and support a struggling member of your team. Whatever you choose to do ensure you are adding value.
- The knives are out – Depending on the culture of your employer (this might be why you are leaving of course) you may find that your performance suddenly comes under scrutiny. Those audits that weren’t quite perfect will gain a little more focus, questions will be asked about employee engagement and your P&L will be picked apart by applicants for your role. Just look at Tesco, a new leader will invariably be keen to air any dirty laundry as quickly as possible. There is little point getting involved in these discussions, a dignified response will speak volumes.
- It’s been a while, but… – People will get in touch with you for the first time in a while – the colleague who moved on 5 years ago and never returned your call, the person in marketing who rarely speaks to you at conference or a supplier you have had challenges with. They will have probably had their reasons for limited contact previously but now is a great opportunity for strengthening your network; listen and offer support to those that seek it. You will be surprised by how many colleagues confide (often for the first time) that they feel the same way as you and will ask for your advice.
I hope this helps and doesn’t put you off making your next job move!