Resignation Help

It’s time. You know it and I know it. Now they need to know it.

Sure, the company has helped you progress professionally; sure, you even feel comfortable because you can handle the job well. However, as certain as you’re reading this, your objectives and goals are secondary to the goals of the company, and it will always remain that way. As soon as you thought about changing jobs, subconsciously you knew this was true.
Top executives agree that the days of the gold watch for 30 years of faithful service are gone. In fact, experience at several good companies is considered an asset because your horizons are expanded. Today, changing jobs is a necessity if you expect your career to grow. Here are some tips:
  • Your changes cannot be too frequent and you must be able to demonstrate that by making the change your background was enhanced.
  • Don’t resign until you have another position. Experience has shown it is easier to find a job if you are presently employed.

The Counteroffer

Let’s face it, it is natural to resist change and avoid disruption, and your present employment is no exception. It always more comfortable to stay with the people and the role you know then leave and grow.  Just make sure the reason you stay is not because it is more comfortable.  Progress requires a certain amount of courage.   If you’re doing a good job, your employer will not want to lose you. When you turn in your resignation, you may receive a counteroffer from your employer.
As long as you haven’t started your new position, you may be enticed with more money or the promise of a promotion. The appeal will be emotional in nature. There will be an apology made in the form of not knowing of your dissatisfaction. Your boss may even enlist a senior vice-president or the president to help convince you that you’re making a mistake.
It is guaranteed, you will hear the following in some form or another:
  • “We have plans for you that will come to fruition the first of next month – it’s my fault for not telling you.”
  • “I shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to let you in on some confidential information. We’re in the process of reorganizing and it will mean a significant promotion for you within six months.”
  • “We’ll match your new offer and even better it by ‘x’ percent. This raise was supposed to go into effect the first of next quarter anyway, but because of your fine record, we’ll start it immediately.”
  • “When I told our president of your decision, he told me he wants to have dinner with you and your wife as soon as possible. You just tell me when, and he’ll drop everything to discuss this situation with you.”

Counteroffer Implications

A counteroffer can be a very flattering experience: your emotions may be swayed; you may lose your objectivity; you are going to be tempted to stay; “buyer’s remorse” will set in – that apprehension of change will urge you to reconsider your decision. Remember it is always easier to remain where you are because it is the known. This does not mean that falling prey to the counteroffer is the best decision for you and your career.

Accept the counteroffer only if you can answer “no” to all the following:

  • Did I make the decision to seek other employment because I felt a new environment would provide me with the opportunity to enhance my career?
  • If I decided to stay after giving notice, will my loyalty be suspect and affect my chance for advancement in the future?
  • The raise I was offered is above the guidelines for my job. Does this mean they are “buying time” until a replacement can be found within the acceptable compensation guidelines for my job?
  • I got the counteroffer because I resigned. Will I always have to threaten to quit each time I want to advance?
  • If my loyalty is questioned, is there the possibility that I will be an early layoff or terminated if business slows down?
  • Has the bond between myself and the company been, even a little bit, broken.
  • Is this a true raise or just an early annual review?

Logic Must Prevail

As a professional, your career decisions must be made objectively—free of the emotional pressures you are likely to experience. Others will try to influence you, but sometimes only you know things are not right and will not get better.
How do you explain a “gut feeling”? Are you expecting your company to be sorry to see you leave and to make some attempt to keep you. Their response should be considered flattering but it’s beset with pitfalls too numerous to risk.
If that’s the case, it’s up to you to end your relationship as professionally as you began it. Write a letter that expresses your thanks for the opportunity extended. Tell them that, while you have enjoyed your relationship with the company, your decision to resign is irrevocable. Write the letter in your own words and either mail it personally or hand it to your immediate supervisor. Be pleasant but firm. Your new employer is anxious to have you start, so remember, two weeks’ notice is almost always sufficient.
A counteroffer is really a belated confirmation of the contributions you’ve made. Move ahead to your new job knowing you’ve made the right decision. After all, if you don’t look after your future, who will?