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Many of us will do our utmost to ensure we perform and contribute to the company we work for. Whether that’s working late hours, improving our skills outside of work to perform better, taking on more responsibility than what’s on our job description, dealing with all sorts of people and problems, travelling 3 hours a day, getting paid less than we deserve because perhaps our employer can’t afford to pay us more, not taking our due holiday…the list goes on. What I’m getting at is, if you were simply just a nice person but didn’t perform and contribute to your company, I’d be very surprised if your employer kept you on for longer than a few months.


In sum that means, you've contributed a great deal to your employer and the relationship hopefully has been mutual in that, you've been remunerated and recognised fairly for your contributions. You are always hired to add value to a company, to use your skills and experience to contribute to the overall success of the company. In return, you get paid and receive all the other various benefits. As such, you shouldn't feel that you are in debt to your employer for the rest your career, it's wrong to think they have done you a favour. Why then, should you feel guilty about moving on to something else? Your boss has done exactly what you're doing at some point in their career and plenty of others have too.


I understand that it's not always quite so simple. Sometimes, our employer's feel more like friends or they've shown a certain belief in us particularly during earlier stages of our careers and we feel perhaps a bit more attached to them. That's fine and normal, in fact, that's a nice thing. But, your employer will be understanding of your reasonable desire to continue your professional development elsewhere and explore something new. Furthermore, the good employers will keep excellent relationships with current and previous staff, ensuring the door is always open should they at some point in their career choose to return!


If the above hasn't helped alleviate some of your nerves, remember, there were people before you and there will be people after you, the company will keep going with or without you. As long as you hand in your resignation in a nice, amicable way, making sure to stay on good terms if you can, you’ll be absolutely fine.

Before handing in your notice, you should remember the reasons you started your job search in the first place and focus on what would be best for you and your career in the long-term. People leave for countless reasons, often it’s for a new experience, to develop new skills, a dream opportunity has presented itself, a better location, more flexibility. We understand that new challenges can always be a little daunting but, if we don't take opportunities up now, when might we be ready to do so? New challenges often present the best opportunities to grow and progress. Let’s say you turn this new opportunity down and stay with your current employer, do you believe you will feel motivated and happy in your job after a year or two? Do you think much will change in terms of your personal and professional growth?

What I would say is, before you even begin to look for a new job, you should figure out your exact reasons for doing so. If it’s just for a pay rise, to change teams, to work on another project, I would always advise talking to your current employer before starting the job search. Perhaps they can make some changes for you. If your boss says 'no' or 'maybe' and then doesn’t get back to you within 3-6 months, then it’s a good time to look. You’ve given them a chance, they haven’t acted on it and it’s time for you to focus on what’s best for you and your career.

How to hand in your notice

 

If you are on good terms with your boss, ask for a chat and give them a heads up before handing in your formal resignation letter. If they take longer than a few days to give you time for a short chat, I wouldn’t advise waiting around. Just state in your email that you requested a chat because you wanted to speak with them but understand they’re busy and so, you thought an email would be best.


There are plenty of good resignation letters out there if you want a template and to see some examples. I personally quite like this one: https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/article/download-seeks-free-standard-resignation-letter-template


If you're not on good terms with your employer, then just skip straight to handing in your resignation letter to the relevant person (office manager, HR and / or director).


If you do speak to your boss, begin the conversation by thanking them, telling them you’ve really enjoyed your time with the company (if it’s true) and appreciate the opportunities that they have given you, but you’ve been offered an opportunity that you simply can’t refuse or similar (you don’t need to go into the details). Finish off by saying that you hope they understand, and you wanted to thank them and let them know in person before handing in your formal resignation letter.


If you've really fallen out with your employer or you have not a kind word to say about them, then just email/hand-in the resignation letter. I am sure your employer will already have sensed that you're not happy and I can't imagine they will ask you too many questions. Depending on how big or small the company is, I would say as much as we'd like to give it to them, it's not usually worth being very negative. At this point, when you're just about to leave, nothing is likely to change, so why bother? If anything, you will just get even more frustrated. Look to the future and let the past be a learning curve, one hopefully that won't be repeated again. If of course you employer has clearly done something wrong, look at your company grievance procedures and get going on opening a case! Some things we must just not let slide.


Ok, so you've had that conversation and you've officially handed in your notice.

Often, your boss will tell you that they understand, they’re sad to see you go, but they wish you well. Sometimes, they might be a bit surprised and act in awkward ways (it’s ok, give them a day or two to digest the news). Other times, they might figure that their best bet is to try and keep you in which case, they will probably come back to you with a counteroffer. This leads us to another conversation entirely!

Counteroffers

 

95% of the time, counteroffers are an immediate response to save the company time and money, to try and keep you in the business rather than go through the effort of finding someone else. The problem? It’s often exactly that, an opportunity for the employer to buy time.


If you’ve given the employer the chance previously to try and rectify issues you’ve raised or meet fair requests you have had, then, this is surely too late? They should have thought about the consequences before. Ok, so you decide to stay. In most cases, accepting a counteroffer is short-lived. Your employer will begin to question your loyalty to the company and our experience has been that people often start the job search process again within only six months to one year of accepting a counteroffer. Your salary might change, but your company won’t. The main difference? Your employer is paying you more, wants to see better results and at the same time, continues to question your commitment to the company.


Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, a counteroffer might be ok. I turned down two counteroffers in my career (neither of which I regretted) and I accepted one. After having voiced my frustrations with my employer on two occasions and both times, hearing the same excuses, I decided to look for another job. As soon as I got another job offer, I handed in my notice. My boss refused to accept my resignation letter. Instead, he came back to me within a day and presented me with a counteroffer and oh my, it was much better than I expected. A part of me was a little annoyed that I had to hand in my notice to get the response I was seeking during our previous conversations. Nevertheless, weighing up my two options, I was unsure and nervous about the other company and so, I accepted the counteroffer, the more comfortable option.

The outcome? It was ok. I felt I had to work harder and take on more responsibility because I got better pay, but I can’t say it was worth it or that I learnt a whole lot more. Overall, for my career, it might have been better if I’d chosen the other company, I definitely would have learnt more professionally. The counteroffer kept me going for about a year whilst for some reason that I can’t quite seem to explain, my motivation within the company kept diminishing and I found my job less enjoyable than before, even though I was earning more. It would have been better if I both earned more and learned and developed more with another company.

When it comes to counteroffers, there is no right or wrong answer. All I would advise is, think logically with your mind. You don’t owe anyone anything, weigh up the long-term outcome of both options, and then fully commit to whichever option you choose. This is a time to be selfish and think only about what is right for you and your long-term career, no one else. You must remember, even though we might not like it, business is never personal. What would your company do if they found themselves in financial difficulty and could no longer sustain all of their staff?


Best wishes,


F

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CREDITS

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LINKS

Resignation Letter Template: click here

CAREER ADVICE

Should I feel Guilty about Handing in my Notice?

It feels like we’re letting our employer down somehow and it's going to be a real shock for them. Starting the conversation alone is a challenge in itself; where do we begin, how are they going to take it, am I doing the right thing? Hopefully this short article will make it a little easier for you!

INTRO

I don’t know why but often; we just can’t help but feel guilty and awkward about handing our notice in.

SHOULD I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT HANDING IN MY NOTICE?
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