By Cathy Goodwin
Congratulations! You just got an offer for a wonderful new
There's just one catch. You have to say good-by to your
Maybe you loved your job and you face an emotional farewell.
you maybe you hated every minute and you’ve been counting the
days till you could walk out the door one last time.
Clients often admit they’re nervous about making the departure
announcement. They’re afraid the boss will be angry. They feel
guilty about the work they’re leaving behind. Maybe someone
else has to take up the slack for awhile.
But clients also wonder how to resign gracefully yet still
protect their own longer-term career interests. They suspect
their departure style will influence their careers for a long
Here are some guidelines to move to your next position with
grace and style.
1. Give the correct amount of notice required by your
Every so often my clients feel sorry for their former
colleagues. So they stick around an extra week (or even an
extra month). Inevitably, they begin to feel like a fifth
wheel. Nearly everyone says, “Next time I’m leaving right
2. After you leave, do not accept any job-related calls from
your company unless you have a written consulting contract.
Your boss required two weeks notice – but belatedly realized
she needs four weeks for a smooth transition to your
Your boss made a business decision to require two weeks
When she miscalculates, she needs to accept the cost, just as
she’d accept the cost of late payments to a supplier.
If your company needs additional help, offer to work as a paid
consultant with a contract. But get everything in writing and
make sure your new job becomes your Number One priority.
3. Study your current and future company policies regarding
disclosures and no-compete agreements.
Some companies are extremely proprietary about their process
and their people. Once you resign, you may have to leave the
workplace immediately. Or your new company may ask you not to
work for your former employer, even on a part-time basis.
4. Resign to your boss in person, if at all possible.
Phone is second best. And tell the boss before you tell anyone
else – even your best friend or golfing buddy.
5. Expect your boss to be professional.
Clients often fear the boss’s reaction. However, bosses rarely
are caught by surprise. Good bosses are happy to see their
employees move ahead. Thank her for the opportunity to learn,
which has led to your newest and most wonderful career move.
6. Thank your boss and your coworkers, even if you hate them
all and can’t wait to leave.
You may regard them more fondly through a haze of memories
a glare of office lighting. You may encounter them at
conventions and networking groups. And most likely you will
benefit from strong references and goodwill.
7. Decline a counter-offer.
Recruiters consistently tell me, “Sixty percent of those who
accept a counter-offer are gone in six months.” If you decide
to stay, get a written job contract.
Exception: A few companies and industries actually demand
of an outside offer before offering you any kind of internal
raise or reward. College professors often work in this
8. Treat the exit interview as a business formality, not a
When a Human Resource professional asks why you are leaving,
upbeat and positive: “for a better opportunity.” Talk about
much you loved the company and your job. You never know where
your comments will turn up, mangled and misinterpreted.
9. Resist entreaties to share the details of your future
position with anyone.
Occasionally a colleague will try to assess your salary or
other information “so we can stay competitive in recruiting.”
Helping your company recruit is not part of your job and
anyway, do you really believe this?
Details of your future employment should remain confidential,
even from your close friends in the company.
10. Focus on your new opportunity – not your past expeience.
Once you’re gone, you’re history. The very same folks who
meeting you for lunch will barely remember your name a week
And, if you haven’t changed jobs for awhile you may be in for
shock. Your first day in a new position can be a real
About The Author: Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., works with corporate
executives, business-owners and professionals who want to
transform career breakdowns to career breakthroughs. Cathy has
created the 21-Day Extreme Career Makeover
www.cathygoodwin.com/21days.html Download Write Your
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