Career Survival Skills: What to Avoid When You Resign
by Michael Mayher

During the actual resignation meeting, as I already suggested, you should avoid getting sucked into a debate or conversation about your decision to leave your current employer. Even if you are on good personal terms, this isn’t a family meeting with members judging the sensibility or wisdom of your choice. Here are a few things to avoid to ensure a smooth and least stressful encounter:

• Don’t tell - They shouldn’t ask and you shouldn’t tell them where you’re going. You have no obligation to tell your current boss about your new plans, it’s simply none of their business – at that moment you are delivering / communicating your resignation. I know this may sound harsh, however, if you do tell them it will provide ammunition or fodder to use against you in order to create doubts in your mind about your decision. Regardless of what they may have to say, they’ll rarely have your best interests at heart. Typically, they are more concerned about the company or their own status and how your resignation might affect them.

• Don’t be an activist - Sometimes when someone resigns, there are others who are also unhappy. When you resign you are not some kind of a labor leader or a rebel who will speak on behalf of your co-workers, voicing their grievances. Indeed, others may wish, hope or suggest that you speak on their behalf, but when the moment comes for them to step up, they more often will not, leaving you standing solitary and alone, looking foolish. Just resign and be on your way because the whole point is to be able to exit and move onward to a new and hopefully more promising job opportunity.

• Don’t delay your decision – a common tactic among managers is to convince you to delay your resignation, perhaps just a few days so they can talk with other managers to see what they can do to convince you to stay, and then they’ll get back to you. If you have decided to leave and your decision is, in fact, final, thank them politely and stick to your original purpose, that is, to submit your resignation. Besides, you didn’t set an appointment to negotiate or have a group discussion about your intent. (if you do choose to engage in discussion, I would surmise you are not sure about your resignation and, if this is the case, proceed at your own risk)

• Don’t complain, don’t explain – Keep your resignation short. If you do want to share with them the reasons for your departure, don’t do it now. For the moment, resign and seek their recognition and acceptance of your decision. Then, if you want to have a discussion with them at a separate meeting, do so – after the cord has been cut.

• Keep it short - if you want to give a long-winded speech, save it for your farewell gathering at the local watering hole with your co-workers.

• Don’t play games – I have seen people actually use a job offer as a wedge, with no true intention of leaving their current job, but rather using it to leverage for themselves a better condition, or more money. I think people who do this are dirtbags, cowards who couldn’t simply address their boss like an adult with integrity. Not to mention the fact they’ve jerked around another company and possibly caused the person who was supposed to become their new manager grief with their boss – actions such as these have consequences.

Don’t forget that you have your resignation letter printed and signed, stating your decision is final. If you feel under pressure, it is your shield, use it as such.

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