Sunday, December 4, 2011
To continue on with the theme of the last blog-post...and to impart more of the wisdom from Danny Cahill's book, "Harper's Rules"....here are some of Harper's thoughts...and my own...on how to end the relationship. In other words.....how to quit your job gracefully and professionally. Remember last month's post....if it's time to go, then there is no time like the present to start a new adventure.
How to terminate a relationship...(quit a job).
1. Use direct, simple language. (Deliver the bad news in one sentence. Don’t say, “This is really hard for me, but…” or “I think” or “I don’t know how to say this…”.)
*I know that you think you are softening the blow, but really...it's time to just make a clean break. Your boss will appreciate it, and it's just the best way to handle a difficult situation. Be decisive...don't give them any reason to try to counter and talk you into staying....even though they will try.
2. Realize that this is not an exit interview. (This is not the time to tell them what went wrong. There are two kinds of breakups….the kind where you don’t really want to break up, but are trying to change the other person’s behavior…or the kind where you just want out. You just want out.)
*The time for changing the relationship has passed...that should've happened during your periodic reviews. You can't change a company's culture...you either adapt to it, or leave.
3. Never burn a bridge. (Offer 2 weeks' notice and let them know that you’ll work hard and not disparage the company.)
*Depending on your industry, many company's just walk you out the door. Don't take it personally, they are just doing what is standard for protecting their company intellectual property. Even if you think that they will "walk you out" immediately....offer to stay on and transition your replacement or knowledge to whomever it needs to go.
4. Ask for a commitment to give a verbal reference.
*Some companies have a policy in place that won't allow this. Most employees will give you a good reference anyway - assuming that you don't burn a bridge and that you've earned their respect. Don't assume anything. Ask for a cell phone and email address if they give you their commitment.
5. Offer to submit, for documentation, a written letter of resignation.
*Again, this is not an exit interview or a "tell-all" magazine headline. Just keep to the specifics of your last day, your offer to stay for 2 weeks from the date of verbal resignation, etc.
I'd also like to suggest that if you do have an exit interview, you should make sure to use the time to discuss any business that needs to be taken care of before you leave the premises. For example - get a copy of any documentation that you've signed (non-compete agreements, severance packages, etc.). Also, here is the time to make sure to discuss and get in writing any compensation, bonuses, etc. that you are owed. Make sure you know the company's policy on payments and the laws governing the workforce in your state. Also, make sure to get any HR questions you may have answered - like benefits, cobra, etc. Make sure you also return any company property and equipment.
Surely every break-up doesn't go easily. Follow these suggestions and at least you'll know how to act when a "wrench" get's thrown into the works. Remember...never....never...never ever...accept a counter offer. More on why not to come.