With the number of resignations higher than they’ve been in 20 years, you may be thinking, “NOW is my chance to…”
There are always good reasons to resign and new opportunities are plentiful right now. Think carefully about wanting to resign and before you do, here’s a list of 10 things to NOT do when you resign.
- Don’t steal or destroy any company equipment or intellectual property – This may seem obvious, but if you are angry, you may make bad choices, like the one to the right (yes, it’s real). Don’t copy any shared files, don’t take customer lists, don’t take anything out of the company—not even the pencils.
- Don’t leave angry – Perhaps a predecessor to the above, anger causes a loss of rational thinking so what might seem “great” now, may turn out to be harmful later.
- Keep off social media – Especially true if you didn’t adhere to the last point. It’s tempting to share a story, rail at the world, express your joy or frustrations, but just don’t. Future employers look at social media, and don’t think that a potential hiring manager won’t want to know more about you than you share in an interview.
- Don’t quit without another job – OK, in some markets, you’re almost always able to walk into another company and get a job, but those jobs are not always in demand. Hospitality, trades, IT Security, medical, are all fields that are clamoring for people, but at least have a plan before you quit.
- Don’t accept a counter-offer – Many companies will try to buy you back before you leave. This usually always turns out to be bad for you because they know you’re looking and dissatisfied with things out of your control, that won’t be in your control. You’ll be just as unhappy in six months.
- Don’t carry any baggage with you – Almost every interviewer will ask why you quit your last job. This is the time to tactfully explain that the job didn’t meet some of your needs and you needed to continue to grow. If you’re working with a recruiter, role play this one with them.
- Don’t just quit – A two-week notice is customary but if you’ve worked for 15 years, give your employer a chance to make a transition easier for them. That much time and loyalty shouldn’t be abandoned without one last act of kindness to your employer.
- Don’t fail to recognize talent – Sometimes there are really great people that you’ve worked with. Give them credit as you exit either in your resignation letter or exit interview. You’re paying it forward and that always works.
- Don’t leave without finding a person who will be a good reference – Your next organization will want to talk to people who can give you a good reference. Know who those people are and what they’ll say.
- Don’t tell your coworkers – OK, don’t tell anyone but your good reference. Ideally, you’d build this relationship over months and years so that your reference would keep it in confidence, but as soon as you tell someone you’re going to quit, EVERYONE will know. People like dirt. Don’t give it to them.
Some of these may seem to be obvious, but these are all based on our experiences with either things we’ve seen or heard.
You are solely responsible for your own success and happiness and if you want to resign a job to grow and feel happier or try something new, GO FOR IT, but don’t burn a bridge and maintain a level of respect so that your previous employer will wish you were still part of their team.