The Internet is awash with stories and even news articles about dramatic job exits. They often make us wish we had the “courage” to do likewise. The idea of an email to your boss telling him or her exactly what you think of them, copied to the entire company, may make us laugh, but what are the implications of such an exit? The most obvious one is that you are unlikely to get a good reference from your previous employer. In fact, your reputation may well be the biggest casualty in this scenario.
Sure, a dramatic exit makes the news, but what happened to that individual after the exit? While it might seem like a good idea at the time, when the dust settles, you will have harmed yourself the most. So, resist the temptation to act on that impulse.
Most of us reach a time early in our career where those entry-level jobs that drew us in no longer hold the same thrill they once did. That’s fine. All employers expect their employees either to seek internal promotions or to look elsewhere for the next step on that long career ladder.
How to Find a New Job
The choice to use your expanding network to help you is a seemingly obvious decision. However, before you start putting the word out that you are back in the market, review your network carefully. Be careful not to let current colleagues or mutual friends know. You do not want your current employer to find out about your job switch before you are ready to tell them.
Recruitment companies, such as First Job, are always a good starting point. They have a code of ethics that includes not telling your current employer that you are looking to leave, and they can market you to a wide range of prospective new employers.
Job Switch Tips
Review the company policy for resigning and your contract for any notice period required. If there is no policy, two weeks is standard; however, many companies will ask you to leave immediately once they know you are moving on. Do not take this personally. It is standard practice and not a reflection on you.
Have a job lined up before you put in your notice. Do not quit and then undertake your search for another entry-level job.
Never criticize your current employer during interviews. Your prospective employer will not be impressed with your disloyalty.
Quit only after you have a firm offer in writing and agree to a start date that is fair to the employer you are planning to leave. This gives your new employer a good impression of your professional attitude.
Always tell your immediate boss first. Do not risk a colleague letting them know before you have a chance to explain your decision to leave.
Offer your resignation first in person and then also in writing. Explain your reasoning, and do it without trashing the company that has given you experience and opportunities to develop your potential. It’s always a good idea to thank your boss and the company for those opportunities.
Finish your work before you go. Leaving a pile of work for others is unprofessional and could damage your reputation. This is not always possible, so if there is work that needs to be handed over, take the time to write down what you have done and what needs to be done by others. Offer to train a colleague in any areas that may be necessary.
Ask for a letter of recommendation from your boss. That’s why you don’t want to leave on bad terms with any superior. Letters of recommendation are vital when you’re seeking new jobs.
Remove any personal correspondence from your work computer.
Work during your notice period with the same professionalism that you maintained during your employment.
The above steps might seem boring – many of us dream about walking into someone’s office and telling them exactly what we think of them – but, in the end, the loser in that scenario is you.