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Navigating a Smooth, Stress-Free Resignation

If you go into your resignation well-prepared, you should be able to navigate the emotional waters just fine.


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What happens during the resignation process? If you’re switching jobs, how do you make sure your resignation goes as smoothly as possible?

To answer these questions, let’s back up for a minute. Pretend that you’ve been working with your favorite recruiter and, after a series of interviews and probably a few sleepless nights, you’ve successfully landed the job—an offer has been extended to you and you’ve accepted. Congratulations!

If your recruiter has done his job well, you have been talking all along about the real reasons that you were looking for a change. Sure, money is part of it, but that should never be the main reason for making a job change. You can always find a better paying job, but what’s important is finding the right position that is a fit for you personally and heightens your career arc.

Through the interview process, you should have been continuing to examine the new opportunity against your current position so that by the time you have accepted an offer, you
are confident that it is a good move, for all the right reasons.

I always say that the most emotionally challenging period in a job search is that time between accepting a new job and resigning from your former job. In that window, you technically have two jobs, and you won’t feel that sense of finality until you bring that number down to one: The new opportunity that you just accepted. You need to be emotionally prepared for the conversation and how to handle a counteroffer.

 

If you keep your wits about you and go into your
resignation well-prepared and in the proper mindset,
you will navigate these emotional waters just fine.

 

There are two types of counteroffers: financial and emotional. If you are well-regarded in your current position, you’ll likely get a healthy dose of both. So, how can you properly prepare? It’s all about having the right mindset. First of all, you need to think of your soon-to-be former boss differently. That person used to be your boss, but as of your new position, they’re now a former co-worker who has no power over you. Talk to them calmly, professionally and explain your rationale for making the change. If this person truly values you, then the conversation will go smoothly and he or she will be happy for your newfound success even while expressing sadness or even dismay upon your leaving.

If the power plays or guilt trips start flowing, this is when you remember that they’re no longer your boss and are not the ones in charge of your career direction anymore. What if you’re told something to the effect of, “We can’t lose you right now,” or “We are right in the middle of a major project,” or “How could you?”. As I remind my candidates, any successful business leader always has projects in motion—that’s why you’re valuable. There is no “perfect” time to leave. The right thing to do is offer to work diligently to hand over projects during your two-week-notice period.

At the end of the day, you have to be firm in your conviction that you made this job change for the right reasons. If some money or even a sudden reactionary promotion is offered, step back and remind yourself of the motivators that drove you to seek an opportunity outside of the company in the first place. Those are likely deep-seated issues that cannot change, despite your former boss’s promise to the contrary. It’s also well worth asking why your company had to wait until you resigned to suddenly find that money or a new position? Don’t let yourself be bought.

There is so much more we could talk about when it comes to resignations, but we’ll have to save that for another video. Suffice it to say, if you keep your wits about you and go into your resignation well-prepared and in the proper mindset, you will navigate these emotional waters just fine. Be sure to partner with your recruiter. What seems completely unique to you is probably something we have seen dozens of times. Let wisdom be your guide.

If you have any questions about this topic or there’s anything else I can help you with, give me a call, send me a text, or shoot me an email. Thanks, and we’ll talk again soon.

 

Rob Bowerman is President and Founder of The Bowerman Group- a leading executive search firm for luxury brands in the US and Canada. Rob is also President of The Pinnacle Society, the premier consortium of industry-leading recruiters in North America.