Once we’ve gone through the process of finding our next career match and completing our loss prevention job search, there is still unfinished business that we have to face—telling our current employer that we’ve made the decision to move on.
On the surface, many of us feel that we’ve taken the steps to prepare ourselves to leave during the process of the job search. We’ve thought about our decision to move on, discussed that decision with those important to us, completed resumes and interviews, and ultimately accepted a new role that we feel will fit our future.
But leaving a position to follow new and different challenges can put us in an emotional blender. It is a time of excitement and anticipation as we look forward to the fresh beginnings of a new position. There is a period of anxiety as we weigh the change of pace and the change of scenery that will come with a new job. But there is also the emotional struggle that we often confront when it comes time to tell our current employer that we have made the decision to leave.
When we’re devoted to what we do there is a tremendous investment that we make in our career. The growing pains that we’ve managed along the way, the accomplishments and sacrifices that we’ve made, the relationships that we’ve built, the sweat equity, the friendships—all of these thoughts and others rush through our minds in anticipation of that visit to the boss’s office. Even in those situations where the relationship is somewhat “less-than stellar,” it is still a critical time where we have to manage our emotions.
But while the process can feel uncomfortable, by following a few simple rules it should still go smoothly.
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By the time we’ve reached this stage in our loss prevention job search, it’s important that we’ve thoroughly thought through the reasons why we’ve decided to move on, and determined that those reasons are good reasons. Confidence in our decision is a critical aspect of the resignation process, and will often set the tone for how the entire situation is handled by all of those involved.
- Tell your boss of your decision first. When you enter that office and share your news, the last thing you want to hear the boss say is, “I know.” No boss wants to hear about your decision to leave from someone else first. No matter how much you feel that you can trust your colleagues to keep silent, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll make their way to those that should have heard the news from you first. Keep silent and remain professional. It’s best to schedule an in-person meeting whenever possible to deliver the news.
- Keep the conversation concise and to the point. Put the matter on the table. There’s no need to tiptoe around the subject. There’s no point in ten minutes of casual conversation before sharing your news. There’s also no specific need to get into the details of your new position, other than to share that it’s an opportunity that you didn’t feel that you could pass up.
- Keep the conversation positive. Remain courteous and professional when delivering the news. This is not a time to vent frustrations, unload grievances, or make comments that you might later regret.
- Giving two weeks’ notice is the standard practice when resigning from a job. While there are no legal implications to not giving notice, it is courtesy to your employer. The intension is to give the employer time to process the departure and start looking for someone else to make the transition as smooth as possible. Company policies or company contracts may specify a slightly longer or shorter time period, but two weeks is viewed as the standard. If the employer asks that you stay longer than the specified time period, you have no obligation to stay
- Be prepared for the conversation. Your boss may not be prepared for your departure, and may voice some frustration. By the same respect, it’s also important to be prepared for a counter offer, attempting to entice you with higher compensation, greater benefits, or greater responsibility. Think through the potential scenarios, avoid getting caught up in the moment, and remain calm and professional.
- The employer does not have to accept two weeks’ notice (unless it’s part of a contract).They can end your employment immediately. In most circumstances, the employer will want you to work out your notice. However, you should be prepared to end your job when you give notice. Have your personal belongings out of the office or ready to go. Make sure you have all the information you need from your work computer and any other information you want to take with you.
- Prepare a formal resignation letter. We spend our careers building upon our talents through both performance and professional development. Knowing this, does it make any sense to risk soiling that reputation with a poorly written resignation letter? A well-written resignation letter puts a professional close and an exclamation point on your personnel file.
- Don’t make it personal. While you may have a personal stake in your career, remember, this is business. You have as much right to look out for the well-being of your career as your employer has to safeguard the interest of the company. Leave your emotions at the door. You don’t ever want to burn bridges as you leave.
Have a Professional Exit Strategy
The working world can be a surprisingly small place, and you never know when you might cross paths with a former co-worker or supervision. Always make an effort to end your employment on a positive note. The way you leave your company can leave a lasting impression—so make sure that the impression that you leave sends the right message.
- Generally, the notice period is one of transition. There may be meetings with supervisors and co-workers to review the status of projects, or a review of day-to-day tasks. You may be asked to prepare documents, introduce a contact, or share important files. Do your part to ensure that everyone is properly prepared and informed.
- Consider the people you work with and any others who might be burdened with your workload if you cut out early. Try to establish a transition plan to make your departure as seamless as possible. Offer to stay in touch, and make yourself available. Work to keep the business relationship strong, and put together a thoughtful plan for those you leave behind.
- It’s important to dig in and finish strong. For some, it can be very tempting to slack off during this period. Resist the temptation and make the effort to leave the company on a high note.
- Remain positive. Keep conversations constructive and upbeat, and resist sharing negative opinions. Be nice, and make your remaining days as pleasant and productive as possible.
While you may have a great deal invested in your past, you still have even more to invest in your future. When it comes time to put the finishing touches on your loss prevention job search, do your part to make the transition from one job to the next as seamless as possible. Each situation is different and must be considered on its own merits, but always try to leave a positive—and lasting impression. Remind them of the value that you’ve added, and leave them knowing that your efforts and contributions will be missed.