Hate your job? Want to quit?
OK, so you’re fortunate to have worked several years for the same employer. Perhaps your working conditions have worsened or you’re ready for a vertical move, and you’ve been offered a better job.
Congratulations. Before you resign, however, take precautions to make sure your resignation enhances your career, not hurts it. Quit your job in a professional fashion. Why?
Lesson No. 1
During the early 1980’s recession — long before working my way into management and later as a consultant — I worked in sales on a commission basis for a telecom.
Abruptly, the company announced it planned to change its compensation plan, which was unacceptable to me as I routinely ranked in the top five percent of the company’s 100 salespeople nationwide.
The employer’s justification was that it was going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising, which would supposedly make it easier for us to sell products.
Perhaps the company’s new policy was applicable for 95 percent of its salesforce, but not for me. I had confidence in my selling ability as I literally closed every lead, and was already thinking like a consultant — I knew that my time was valuable.
Unfortunately, the time required in my southern California territory didn’t afford me the opportunity to search for another position. So I felt trapped, abused and angry as there were few good jobs. (Between broadcasting jobs, I had taken it temporarily in order to meet my expenses and had already been looking for a better job or a foray back into broadcasting. I had also become disenchanted with my immediate supervisor’s toxic-management style.)
At the time, I didn’t know the strategies to get the best available job. I shared my dilemma with a retired executive who gave me a puzzling solution.
“Deposit your check, then resign but cite ‘personal’ reasons as to why you’re quitting,” he advised.
His counsel defied logic as it was easier for me to land a job if I already had one. But I wasn’t about to work the same hours for less commission. So the next day I did as he suggested. The employer let me leave immediately without any rancor.
At a subsequent job interview — even though it wasn’t in my preferred industry — a more-desirable prospective employer shared with me the result of his reference check with my former telecom employer:
“When I called ______, the regional boss told me: “Terry resigned for personal reasons. We don’t know why. He was our most polished salesman. We’d love to have him back.”
I was stunned to hear such feedback, and the interviewer said it was the only reference he needed.
“When can you start?” he asked.
Three seemingly miraculous things had just occurred: Firstly, I was immediately offered the position. Secondly, I got a boost in self confidence from a source I least expected. Thirdly, the tactic led to other dividends in my job pursuits.
Lesson No. 2
Years later after leaving a broadcast employer, its president asked me to come back. I declined because it would have meant working again for a supervisor who behaved unacceptably, but I stayed on good terms with the executive.
Meanwhile, his main competitor hired me. To my surprise, I became bored as a newscaster and my mentor advised me to become an entrepreneur. Three years later — before I figured out how to put his advice to work — I was laid off. Instead of becoming an entrepreneur, probably to the chagrin of my mentor, I journeyed to a National Association of Broadcasters’ convention to find a job.
There in a hotel lobby, I unexpectedly met the former employer. He was stunned that I was available because I had managed to receive top listener ratings. Over and over he kept asking: “They laid you off?”
I became impatient: “Yes, they did! I’m available.”
Then, he surprised me: “Call me in three weeks because I have an under-performing station at which I want you to be our consultant,” he offered. “They laid you off?”
Suddenly, a former employer became my first client.
The moral: Find a good mentor, keep an open mind and remember it’s a small world. You can expect good things will happen if you resign in a professional fashion.
Use the Golden Rule in resigning professionally:
1. Give your employer adequate notice. It’s still customary in resignations to give a boss two weeks’ notice. However, if you’re a key employee or you have unfinished assignments, more notice might be in order.
2. Give a dignified reason for your resignation. Unless you work for a reincarnated Adolph Hitler, do your best to take the high road.
3. Talk with your boss. Ask to meet with your supervisor. Thank your boss for the opportunity to work at the company. Cite any examples that would make your boss smile. Diplomatically explain your intentions.
If, however, your supervisor is based in a distant location, make a telephone call. Don’t make the boss feel as though suspended by a thread in mid-air. Treat your boss as you’d wanted to be treated. So, no surprises.
4. Think like a manager and be empathetic to the company that’s put food on your table. What do I mean? Make sure your departure will be a smooth transition and the work is completed successfully.
Your boss might not accept your suggestions, but it’s up to you to do the right thing.
Take every precaution to make sure it doesn’t appear you’ve burned any bridges. Even if you’re contacted after leaving the firm, be helpful.
5. Use tact in an exit interview. Be graceful in your answers. Don’t lie but you don’t have to be brutal either. If you have legitimate beefs, balance them with positive comments. Even in toxic relationships, both people behave badly, at times.
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a potpourri of proven career tips:
Discouraged in Job Hunting? Powerful Tips for the Best Job – Whether unemployed or under-employed, a person needs two things: A sense of hope and the right tools to negotiate a job. Here are both.
Is Your Career Stalled? Turbo Charge Your Personal Brand – Perhaps you’re struggling in a job search. You’re ambitious but underemployed, or worse – unemployed. You’re not alone.
7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously – If you play it smart, you can take advantage of the 500-million Twitter account-holders to get a new job or career.
HR – Interviewers Give Higher Marks to Applicants Interviewed Early in the Day – Study has implications for HR professionals and job hunters, alike Interviewers often mistakenly give higher ratings to job job seekers – whom they interview early in the day – at the expense of other applicants.
“…may you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they are the path.”
-Jane Catherine Lotterâ
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.
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