Making the decision to resign from a job is a difficult one. Sometimes, staying in your role is easier than facing potentially months of unemployment. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, the job market being what it is. However, if it is something you are seriously thinking about, here are some useful tips to help you decide when it really is time to go, and how to do it properly.
Resigning to Save Face
Sometimes, we perform an indiscretion that breaches our terms of employment, breaches our company’s policies, or otherwise compromises our role. In these circumstances, going through disciplinary procedures and dismissal can be enormously damaging to our career, particularly in professional roles (think management, doctors, pharmacists, politicians, teachers, other important roles). If you resign for this reason, it will look better on future job applications when asked for your reason for leaving.
Resigning Because of Harassment
If your fellow employees are making you feel uncomfortable, you may feel that leaving is the only option. Before you make this hasty decision, consider raising a grievance with your line manager. When your line manager is the problem, go to someone on their level, or the next level up. They should be able to help you. Your employer has a duty of care to ensure you are not being harassed or bullied. If they do not help you, you can resign and take them to court on the grounds of constructive dismissal.
Resigning to Find Yourself
Like so many of us, we have worked all our lives and there comes a point in life where we wish we had travelled or experienced certain things that we previously had not. A better solution would be to take sabbatical leave, rather than resign, sever ties, and come back from your break to find you cannot get a new job.
Resigning to Pursue Greener Pastures
Have you been offered a new, better job with better prospects? Then pop your notice of resignation in to your current employer! If they value you and your contribution to the business enough, they may even may a counter offer. Give them this opportunity. You never know; if they deem you indispensable, they may be willing to bend and offer you something a bit more exciting to tempt you to stay.
When you feel like you have no other option…
In some cases, something we are asked to do or that we experience in our jobs can make us feel like there really is no other option but to walk away. Do not stay if you feel that it would be morally, ethically or otherwise compromising to you or your beliefs. Chances are you have considered all your options, but think them over one more time just to make sure you are happy with the decision you are about to make.
Submitting a resignation letter
No matter what the circumstances, you should be polite and submit a friendly yet formal letter to your manager. Even if you are leaving under a cloud, thank them for the experience, and do not be rude or attempt to sever ties and damage relationships. You never know, you may end up working with these people again in the future. Explain your reasons clearly, and in signing off, invite them to contact you to discuss matters further. If something has been bothering you causing your decision, now is the time to bring it to light. Your employer may respond and offer to resolve the issue in order to retain you at the company.
Try and Line Something Else Up
Have something planned for when your notice period ends. Are you planning on starting a new job? If so, make sure you have been accepted before you leave your current role. Thinking of becoming self-employed? Excellent, but make sure you have everything in place (business plans, finance etc.). Intending to travel? Ideally, you will have most of your travel booked and paid for before you drop everything. Think ahead. Unemployment may seem favourable in some cases, but having no income can be difficult. Also, if you resign, the system has the right to withhold jobseekers allowance if they see fit, for up to several years.
Resignation is a big step, and it can be the best decision you ever made, or the very worst.