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What can I expect when I hand in my resignation?

By on 15.10.14 in Your Career

Receiving a job offer can be both very exciting and scary at the same time. You've probably spent quite some time updating your CV, thinking about what your next role should be, applying for jobs and been to several interviews. And finally, an offer is made… This is what you have been waiting for and it should therefore be a reason to celebrate a new and exciting chapter in your career history. However, when it comes to actually handing in your resignation, you may feel it's not as easy as you initially thought it would be.

Here are some tips and insights that might be useful at this stage of the process: 

Why did I want to leave in the first place?

There could be many reasons for this. Maybe your current role doesn't offer a chance to get promoted. Perhaps your current job has become a bit too repetitive and you're looking for a new challenge and the chance to do something a bit different. Your current company might be going through a change phase that even includes a re-structure and now is therefore the time to move on. Maybe you feel that the company culture doesn't fit your personality and skill set….Put simply, there are many reasons why people want to move on. And what's important is that you make a move to the right job and for the right reason(s). 

Imagine therefore that you have been through the interview process, met your new boss, you've seen the company, asked questions about the role and you feel really excited about it. The offer is made and your mind is made up - you're accepting!  As expected, you will probably feel really excited, but you might also feel a bit nervous and start questioning whether you're making the right decision…

You may have some really good colleagues - some of whom may also have become your friends - who you will be genuinely sad not to work with anymore. You're also stepping outside your comfort zone - what can you expect in your new job? How will your new colleagues be? 

This is when it's important to rationally think about why you wanted to leave your current job in the first place and stick to your guns. 

The counter offer

Chances are that your current boss and colleagues will be sad to see you go, and this is of course a testament to you. 

Your boss has to start the process of replacing you - this can be a time consuming as he/she has to go through CVs and conduct interviews. Your boss could probably do without all this if he/she is already busy. And, he/she will also probably be genuinely sad to see you go because they enjoy working with you. 

They might therefore make you a counter offer in an attempt to try and make you stay, and this is of course very flattering and makes you feel valued. The counter offer could be in the form of a pay rise, a promotion or the chance to work on something different that will develop you further. That is all well and good, but why wasn't this promised earlier? Why is he/she only offering this after you've handed in your resignation? How confident are you that he/she will keep their promise(s) and that things will have changed for the better? Also, if you were convinced to stay on, how will you feel again 6-12 months further down the line? Chances are the desire to move on will creep back. 

Again, this is when you need to think rationally about why you wanted to leave your job in the first place and stick to your guns. 

Remain objective and trust your instinct

People have of course different reasons for wanting a change in their career. Despite your boss, colleagues, friends and family who will all have an opinion on the matter, only you know what's right for you.

Ultimately you need to look at this from a professional point of view and try and put your emotions to one side. You're moving on because - for whatever reason - you're not happy and fully satisfied where you are now. This is an opportunity to do something about it! You've gone through a long process to get to a stage where an offer is made. If you have a good gut feel about your new offer, you're doing the right thing! 

Make it easier for your boss

There are things you can do to make you leaving a bit easier for your boss. 

First of all, it's important to tell your boss when resigning how much you have enjoyed working there and also with him/her, and that you're grateful for everything that you have learned. Explain that this hasn't been an easy decision for you either, that you have been through a long process before deciding and that this is ultimately an objective decision that is really important for your career development. He/she will most probably understand this. 

If appropriate, you can also offer to help with the recruitment process and finding your replacement. For example, you can write an up to date job spec that really reflects the job you are currently doing - no one knows better than you what your current job entails. You can also offer to be part of the interview process itself as you know what type of person is required to do your job. 

Finally, reassure your boss that you will produce detailed and thorough handover notes, and that everything that is in your head, processes etc is documented. If the new person starts whilst you are still there, you can spend your last days at your current job making sure that the new person is fully up to speed. The less time your boss needs to spend to bring a new person up to speed, the better. So offer to do as much of this work for him/her as you possibly can. 

This should hopefully make your last day much more enjoyable, and you can leave knowing that you have done everything you can to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. 

Tor Clausen

Consultant - Account Handling roles