4.05.2016

How to resign from a job

Recently I resigned from a job I held for eight years. It was the first time I resigned from a job for the sake of resigning from a job. Not because I moved or was "pursuing educational goals". Nope. This time I resigned because I found something that was "a better fit" and "more in line with my life goals" and maybe also "just an awesome opportunity". Bottom line. It was a "better quality of life" for me and I am very excited for the change.

With that being said, I thought I would document some tips for resigning from a job.

Tip one: Have another job first and make sure everything is lined up for that job. I was offered a position and then had to wait for the position to be board approved. As much as I wanted to shout from the rafters that I was leaving, I held my tongue until everything was official. I had told a few people because I knew it was going to be a shock and I wanted to do everything I could to help get the ball rolling to replace my position after I left. Front loading a few people helped to make my transition out more effective and more peaceful. And it helped to create buy-in when people needed to temporarily take over some of my duties.

Tip two: Keep building bridges. When it came time to send the resignation email to my co-workers I made a choice to keep building bridges. I had two ideas going through my mind while I was waiting for board approval for when it came to letting my co-workers know I was resigning. Either to let the fires of the bridges I burned light my way (and I did think about this for a bit) or to end with grace and try to keep building bridges. In the end I chose to keep building bridges. The evening of the board meeting I waited at work for a text to let me know what my future held. Earlier I had composed an email to my co-workers and I had thought about sending two different emails. One to the people I liked, and one to the other people. At the end of the day (literally) I composed an email that was touching and professional. It built a bridge with people I will see through my profession. It was the right thing to do, and I was kind of proud of myself as I hit send. I then proceeded to be gone for three days (not planned that way) and the dust had settled when I returned to group of people who "where so happy for me".

Tip three: Transfer your job and tie up loose ends. I had a lot of things that I did at work that no one else did. As soon as the dust settled I got to work transferring those things. When you are the person resigning it is hard to take a leadership role on who does what. At this point I was glad I had confided in a co-worker before my announcement so she could take the "leadership" role in transferring my job. It did involve a lot of extra training from me, but that was cool. I made a point of keeping everyone in the loop so there would be no accusations about me after I had left. I went over and above (a norm for me, truthfully) to make sure things would run as smoothly as possible. I also offered my assistance if they needed it after I left, but know a few co-workers would do anything but ask me for help. No problem. It goes back to that "better quality of life" thing.

Speaking of that....

Tip four: Come up with your story. And by that I mean come up with the short reason you are resigning that is in line with your "building bridges" strategy. Sure I had a pro/con list and A LOT of reasons why I chose to resign, but when someone asked I would say; "better quality of life", "closer to home", "I can ride my bike to work". The people who KNOW all the other reasons already know, no need to leave with negativity. And by staying positive a lot of people said really positive things to me as well as I prepared to go. Things that reminded me of the positive things at my former job. And things that I will continue to do in my new job.

There were a few speed-bumps on my way out and I was grateful to pass those over. One thing that was a fluke was how the health insurance works. I ended at the end of the month and started the new job on the 1st. Turned out the 1st was a holiday so my medical benefits would not start for another month. If I had ended in the new month my benefits would have been covered for that month. So then I had to apply for COBRA (expensive!) but COBRA takes 45 days to go into effect and I will be insured in 30 days. I was advised to apply for COBRA but not pay unless I needed coverage. So the check is waiting in case I need it...

There were a lot of emotions I wasn't expecting when I resigned from this job. Relief being one of them. And a sadness for some of the people I had come to care about. Humor as people high-fived me for "escaping" and gratitude to hear how much I had touched peoples lives. I felt like I grew up a little with this experience and really consider it the first time I resigned from a job as a grown up.

And through it all I became an excellent bridge builder through sometimes hostile territory.

At the end of the day I want to like myself when I look in the mirror and when this was over and done with I am happy to report that I did!

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