People leave their jobs for two reasons: they don’t like where they are right now or they found somewhere else that’s better for them.
Whether you got a job offer from your dream company, got invited to work at a startup with lots of potential, or decided to start you own business—one or both statements above holds true.
Unfortunately, most people resign and focus on the negative aspect. This not only burns bridges, but also make it harder for you to move up in your career later on.
Pop Culture Woes
Most professionals, unfortunately, take pop culture for career advice.
Most, if not all, movies and tv shows refer to resignation as quitting. If you haven’t read it yet, quitting is for losers.
Professionals don’t quit. They resign.
Remember this the next time you “hate” your current job or find a greener pasture.
Don’t quit. Resign.
Here’s how you do that without burning bridges.
Get Rid of Hurtful and Vengeful Thoughts
If you resign with resentment, you’re doing it for your own selfish interests. As a professional, it’s your obligation to put the company’s interest until your last day.
So if you are planning on getting back at your boss by leaving in the midst of a big project, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
If you’re leaving out of spite because you can’t get along with your colleagues, or you simply don’t care anymore and fed up with all the bureaucratic crap, that’s okay. No one is forcing you to stay.
Remember that you have a choice to delay the act of resignation. You can decide today you’re leaving, but you don’t have to leave now. Nor in two weeks for that matter.
If you let your emotions control you, you’re going to end up regretting your actions later.
Feeling angry, unmotivated, and frustrated are all valid. They are not wrong. The problem is when you demonstrate these emotions through your behavior.
Before you resign, make sure you are in the proper mindset. Don’t let your emotions control you.
Remember, the professional world isn’t that big. Smart hiring managers do background checks to make sure there are no red flags. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by quitting without thinking of the consequences.
Focus on Where You’re Going Instead
Going back to the reasons above, if you leave immediately after getting fed up, you don’t have something better in place.
Sure, you might say that getting out of a “toxic” workplace is better and that it helps with your mental help, but remember that every company has its own sets of issues.
In the end, you just end up losing a job without any source of income. While you eliminate the stress of working with your teammates who aren’t pulling their weight, or your manager who have trust issues, you not add the stress of not knowing how you can pay the bills next month.
And with the economy the way it is, people are staying in their jobs longer. So you leaving your job without any backup plan is just plain stupid.
On the other hand, if you did plan beforehand and have a job offer already, don’t leave in a hurry. Make sure you do a proper turnover.
Yes, you’re excited with the new opportunity. But you’re still part of your current company. Your loyalties lie with them until your last day.
That’s why it is important that when you resign, you do it properly. You do it professionally.
Set the New Person Up for Success
When you resign professionally, the main question you need to answer is “how can I make my replacement succeed from day 1?”
As an aside, imagine being the manager of this professional who is not leaving in anger and also thinking about making sure the next person that gets hired is set up for success. Won’t you want to work with this person again in the future? Won’t you give her a glowing review when his potential new employer does a background check?
When you decide to leave, don’t print out a resignation letter upfront. Don’t just say “I quit” and leave everyone hanging.
Do some pre-work first. This means compiling all documents, reports, project plans, key relationships, and everything in between with the ultimate purpose of handing them out to someone else so they can do your job well.
That is what sets professionals apart from quitters.
Give them a full plate, instead of an empty plate.
Whether they use it or not is beside the point.
The recommendation above applies to almost all situations—whether you have an arrogant boss or you can’t stand that power-tripping colleague of yours. It only goes out the window when you’re physically or sexually abused.
It also doesn’t apply when we’re talking about ethical considerations like management asking you to fudge the numbers so you can look good in your upcoming IPO and similar situations.
For the most part, like you don’t get along with people or you don’t see any growth, you still have the option to leave in your own terms. That means resigning with a positive mindset and acting accordingly.
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