I had a conversation with my best friend recently who witnessed a very bizarre job resignation. I am still slack-jawed over what she told me as it hit every mark in what not to do when turning in your resignation if you ever wish to have a positive recommendation, or possibly return in the future. Leaving a job does require some careful planning.
I have had a job that after finding the grass wasn’t greener I sought to return to a previous employer. Had I not followed some very important steps, I would have never been able to walk in and sit down with my former employer to discuss the possibility of returning. It was several months before a position that suited was available, but I was rehired. If I had just burned the bridge, it would not have happened.
I have been around the block, a few times, and think that the rules of the past are even more important today. Good old fashioned consideration is a good thing. Unemployment is down and it is becoming easier to find new jobs as the market is not as competitive. Businesses are starting to have to compete to get good loyal employees rather than the other way around.
Do not allow that to make you over confident. The market and jobs can turn on a dime and a former employer may be someone who’s door you need to knock on again one day. I am normally not a ‘how to’ writer, but I thought these were some pretty important tips.
Do NOT give less than two weeks notice.
Leaving a business and/or co-workers in a lurch by leaving a good employer without notice is a big no no. Allowing a business to get the new hire ball rolling is only fair. Also, being upfront in interviews with your new employer as to your timeline is impressive. If you need a bit more time because of a big project or the end of the quarter panic a new employer will see that as a positive in hiring you. They know you need time to transition and will respect a new hire that finishes a job well.
There is an exception to the rule. If you’ve seen your company escort employees right out the door once they give their resignation, don’t give any more notice than two weeks. Your giving notice from a place of knowing it won’t matter is simply good form. In this case, it’s best to prepare yourself well in advance by tying up loose ends before making your announcement.
Do NOT tell your co-workers before you tell your boss.
If the boss finds out through the inevitable gossip line or at the water cooler, they will not be pleased when you sit down with them and let them know your plans.
When you sit down be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving, money, commute, better benefits, a new title may be something your current employer may want to negotiate with you and fight to keep you. Being respectful and honest could bring about a counter offer that you may wish to consider. Only you can decide that, but being gracious and forthright will make this conversation easier.
Do NOT use PTO during your final weeks.
Yes this happened. The young lady mentioned at the start of this post said that during her two weeks she was using the two days of PTO (paid time off) she had accrued to go work at her new employer. Those final weeks should be dedicated to creating as smooth a transition as possible for your old employer.
Finishing any and all work. Cleaning up your desk, helping train a new hire. Most companies will give you your accrued PTO post your leaving. Others may say it is okay to leave prior to the end of the notice and let you use your PTO for the remaining days.
Announcing you will be using it and how you intend to use it is quite simply a NO. This will leave a lasting negative impression as well as a few notes in your personnel file that may come back to haunt you should you seek a reference in the future.
Do NOT ask for a pay raise after you have given notice.
Yeah, this happened too. This young lady expected a salary review and retroactive pay raise AFTER she gave notice that she was leaving. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Performance reviews are not a guarantee of a raise. Also, just because you had a review on July 1st last year does not mean it will be the same day the following year. There is no requirement that any increase need to be backdated to the previous years increase. That depends on the business.
Add to that requesting a raise AFTER an announcement of resignation and you just must be on crack. Enough said.
Do NOT brag about your new job.
Some co-workers may ask questions about your departure and it is okay to answer them. Just don’t gloat. Keep your income and benefits of your new position to yourself and keep the topic on the surface.
So, no matter how happy you are about your new job, you can’t show it. First of all, no one likes a bragger (especially if they think the current work environment is equivalent to a chain gang in 100 degree heat). Secondly, there’s a good chance you’ll need to use this employer as a reference in the future. Do you really want your boss to remember you doing the Moonwalk down the hallway out of sheer giddiness on your last week? Probably not.
Do NOT discuss your old employer (or new) on social media.
Keeping your job off social media is just good common sense. Unfortunately, I see too many young people posting even directly from their job onto their Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, Snapchat accounts too many things that I would fire them for if I new about them. Looking bored at work may mean an employer has too many employees and you are just tipping them off that they really don’t need you. Leaving work life off of social media is simply smart. If you can’t help yourself, keep it positive.
If you post your new job information before letting your old employer know and you have friends that are co-workers, this can lead to a whole other problem that leads back to one of my earlier do NOTS. Don’t put it past a co-worker to show something you post to your boss. You never know who your friends and enemies really are.
Criticism of old employers can also keep you from any benefit of an old employer in the future. Social media can be an employer’s best gossipy friend and the employee’s worst enemy. Being smart and keeping work and personal life separate is just … smart.
Do you have any experiences with a co-worker that has left in a manner unbecoming of them? Are you an employer and can you share any nightmare stories of former employees exits? I want to know.