How to resign - The resignation period

The Resignation Period - The Resignation Process - Leaving a Job

There are right and wrong ways of resigning from your job. Get it wrong and there could be negative feelings between you and your employer, bridges burnt and sour feelings all round. Remember, your sales Manager or Boss will be losing a valued member of their team and your production will be sadly lost.

You will have to be replaced which is going to cost time and much money and the chances are their targets will be harder to achieve without your production input. They might get hurt and upset – but before you start feeling sorry for them and go on a guilt trip – remember you were there to generate profits and bonuses for them – so be selfish and think of yourself.

Get the resignation process right, then the door will always be open for you to come back and it makes the whole action of leaving a lot less stressful. 

Consider your options

Judging the right time to quit involves a variety of considerations. To begin with, why do you think you want to leave? Is it money, opportunity, the scope of your job, a missed promotion, location, or something more personal? If you have a workable relationship, always talk these things through with your boss or the HR head before making a final decision.

Discuss your situation and feelings with friends and family, or anyone in a professional role that you can trust. Most of all, listen to your own feelings. In the end, it’s your life and you’re the one who will have to live with the consequences of your decision.

Letting them know

When you’ve made your mind up, take a look through your contract and company handbook to see what specific procedures your employer has in place. Make sure you’re aware of the length of the notice period you are required to work.

If you don’t have a formal period of notice in your contract, try to allow at least two weeks for the handover period as a sign of good will.

As well as having an official resignation letter, it’s common courtesy to speak to your boss in person about your intentions to leave. Work out what you’re going to say and stick to it. They may try to dig for more information, so be certain what information you’re willing to divulge. There are many impulsive reactions that you could face, so be prepared.

There’s a possibility your boss may try to make you stay – finding a replacement will be a hassle – so be clear of your position and present rational responses. If you would consider sticking around, give them a deadline of when you would need their counter-offer by.

Consider this carefully, and think what it involves. It may be a salary hike, a promotion, or a move to another location. Does any of this change anything? Will you retain or enhance your standing in the company, or will there always be a shadow hanging over you?

On the other hand, your boss could take your exit as a personal insult. Unless you’ve made your intentions obvious, it’s likely to come as a surprise and you may find them getting confrontational or even aggressive. Retain your composure and diffuse the situation by offering to help in the handover process and reassure your boss that you will leave any loose ends tied up before you go.

Always be as positive as you can about your time at the company. You never know when your paths might cross again so there’s no point making unnecessary enemies or burn any bridges.

Telling your colleagues

You may initially be put in a situation where you’re asked not to disclose your desire to leave from your colleagues, existing and past clients. This is done to limit the potential impact it might have on the company both internally and externally. They can’t expect it to stay a secret forever though, and if you’ve already told a few close comrades, it’s likely to spread on the office grapevine anyway.

When you do tell them, it’s a chance to state your reasons clearly before it gets mangled up in the gossip factory. Again, avoid saying anything negative about the company or anyone within it. Always leave on an up-beat note, you may come across your colleagues at an industry event or with a future employer.

Get what you’re owed

Ensure that you get any outstanding bonuses, commission, holiday pay, time off in lieu, or any other benefits you’re due. Your HR department should be able to pull all this information together for you so make sure you request it as soon as possible so any discrepancies can be disputed.

Working out your notice

Most companies have a notice period as part of their terms of employment, and these usually vary in length depending on your time at the company and your seniority. Some companies have a policy of very long notice periods to act as a deterrent for employees to leave, especially in specialist industries where finding replacements with the same skills and experience is difficult.

This contractual obligation acts as a guarantee against you just walking out the door, leaving your employer exposed by the gap you leave. On the other hand, if you are joining an immediate competitor, or it is felt that your existence might be a distraction to your colleagues - you might find yourself escorted off the premises before your last words have died away.

It also offers you protection against being summarily dumped, with no income until you find another job. So it’s essentially a form of insurance policy for both employer and employee, and worth respecting as such.

Notice period law

This can be a complicated area, and lawyers make fortunes from the problems that can surround it. In general, though, make it your business to understand the issues as far as you can, and avoid taking any action that is likely to compromise your position. As a general rule, if you play it straight and work your notice, you should get all that you are due, in terms of salary, commission, bonuses, holiday allowance, and so on. If you wilfully break the terms of your notice period, you put all this at risk.

A few basic rules

Don’t burn any bridges when it can be avoided. You might need goodwill for references, you may want to come back later on, or you may find one of your former colleagues interviewing you for a job in years to come.

The Financial Services industry is quite close knit and a bad word that comes through a ‘friend of a friend’ can harm your career. If you’re leaving because you are being treated unfairly and might want to take legal action, keep it under your hat. Quietly gather your evidence and look for a solicitor. Keep smiling, or you’ll lose the vital element of surprise.

Doing a deal

You may also be offered a deal over your notice period, accepting a shorter period in return for fewer benefits, or taking a pay-off to leave quickly. Always give these offers your full consideration and treat them in confidence.
‘Gardening leave’ is a dream way to leave a job, working out your notice, on holiday or pottering around at home.

For the time of your notice period, you’re not allowed into work or to be employed by anybody else. It’s generally the preserve of senior executives who are sitting on a lot of critical strategic information or for any employee who is moving to a direct competitor that may be able to get their hands on confidential facts and figures.

Referencing Period

At this stage you might get a bit paranoiac about your references or that your new past employer might give you a bad reference. In Financial Services, the referencing process is fairly standard and if your past employer says ‘nasty things’ about you, it does not count.

Check the following list that could harm your references:

Have you ever been disciplined for a breach of any regulatory rules or regulations within the last 5 years? - Have you ever been subject to any formal disciplinary action?- Have you any serious complaints registered against you? - Have you ever had any County Court Judgements registered against you? - Have you ever been declared bankrupt? - Do you have any form of criminal record? (Speeding / parking fines do not count) - Are you financially solvent (Does your income / combined income, exceed your expenditure? - Do you have a modest level of loans, credit card debts etc?

If you are alright with the above, then you have nothing to worry about during the referencing period.

Saying goodbye

After receiving a small token of your colleague’s appreciation and a speech from your manager, you may have to say a few words yourself. Don’t worry too much about this – a very quick ‘thank you’ is sufficient as you should have already spoken one-to-one with anyone you owe special gratitude. It’s traditional to head off to the local pub with your colleagues on your last day, and the occasion can be a good one for cementing friendships and business relationships. Be careful how you manage it though.

A few hours in, your judgement may be a bit less clear, and you may end up doing or saying something you’ll live to regret. Try to be clear in your own mind about when to call a halt to the proceedings and politely take your leave. You won’t offend any real friends among your colleagues, and you can always meet up later and let your hair down properly.