Job and...Re-staff It
by Linda Matias
Deciding to leave a job isn't easy. In fact, quitting a job requires courage,
especially in today's soft economy when the unemployment rate has reached 6.4%.
However, in a tight job market, some people consider leaving their jobs without
having another "lined up."
When after a careful evaluation of emotional and financial considerations you
determine that leaving your job is your best option, you may find that you will
have a hard time getting support from your family, friends and colleagues. The
moment you tell others that you are considering leaving your job, their
immediate reaction will be, "Don't leave your job if you don't have another to
Yes. The ideal situation is to leave a job when you have a perfect career
opportunity. But life doesn't always hand you a magic bullet. Sometimes you have
to take a risk, and that's when conventional wisdom must be put aside to improve
the prospects for your career.
Your decision to leave should be based on the expectation
that better opportunities await you. You may be ready to
move on when:
- The organization's culture has shifted, and no longer
matches your work values.
- You have outgrown your position, and the only way you will get promoted is
if someone leaves.
- The price of staying (e.g., increased anxiety and loss of
self-esteem) is greater than the price of leaving.
- You no longer care about the company, and it is reflected
in the way you perform your job.
- Your career goals have evolved, and you are ready to
pursue new opportunities.
Once you have made the decision to resign, plan for the
- Write a letter of resignation. Keep the letter short and
to the point. The letter should mention two key points (1)
the date of your last day of work and (2) a thank you to
your immediate superior for having provided you with the opportunity to work for
- Prepare for an exit interview. This is not an opportunity
for you to provide a laundry list of pet peeves. Instead,
use this time to offer objective and constructive feedback.
Possible exit interview questions include: What were the factors that
contributed to your accepting a job with our Company? Were your expectations
realized? Has that changed? What constructive comments do you have for
management with regard to making this a better place to work? Why are you
leaving? What would have kept you here? What do you expect to find somewhere
- Go the extra step. Ask your manager what you can do to
make the transition easier and, if possible, offer to train your successor.
- Extended yourself. Be available for a certain time after
your last day to answer any questions your employer may
Most important of all, do not burn your bridges. Keep your resignation
professional and brief.
Linda Matias is President of CareerStrides and The
National Resume Writers' Association. She has been quoted in The Wall Street
Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. Visit her website
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.