How to resign and what to do if you're counter offered

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How to resign and what to do if you're counter offered

true 11 November 2020

Congratulations you have been offered a new position with an exciting company, a pay rise and a new step in your career

The bad news is you have to now tell your current boss that you are no longer going to work for them. Resigning from your current employer is sometimes very difficult, especially where you have built up a strong relationship with your line manager and team. The other part that makes it tricky is that your employer may have no idea you are not currently satisfied in your role, meaning they may not be ready to lose you without fully understanding your reasons for leaving.

It is important to have a clear idea of the reasons you are going to give when you resign and why these issues have not been previously addressed, by doing so you will remain true to yourself and what is best for your career. Your resignation does not have to be drawn out extensively and you should keep your delivery concise and relevant.

Five tips on resigning from your current job

  1. Request a formal meeting with your boss - don't just slam the resignation letter down under her nose first thing on a Monday morning. Explain that you have to urgently meet with your boss in a private area to discuss an important matter.

  2.  Prepare a carefully worded resignation letter detailing what you've learned and enjoyed during the time at the business.  Detail, in positive terms, the reasons why you have decided to move on. 

  3.  Confirm your understanding of the notice period that you are contracted to and detail a provisional leaving date.  If you are hoping to leave sooner than the end of your notice period you should confirm handover targets that you will achieve prior to leaving and request a more favourable date.

  4.  Be prepared that the meeting may have an initial emotional sting; particularly if your resignation comes as a complete surprise.  If things do turn nasty, which is extremely rare,  simply politely
    request that the meeting reconvenes in 30 minutes.  This is adequate time for your boss to regain composure and for the shock to 'sink in'.

  5. There are plenty of websites with details a number of templates for helping you write your resignation letter.  Most are pretty 'straight and to the point', so use one with a good foundation for your resignation and add your extra details as needed.

Beware of counter offers and things to consider if you get one

Although a counter offer can be flattering - "wow, they really don't want to lose me", in reality they rarely work out.  Accepting a counteroffer can have numerous negative consequences. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Where did the additional money or responsibility you’d get come from? Was it your next raise or promotion – just given early? Will you be limited in the future? Will you have to threaten to quit to get your next raise? Might a (cheaper) replacement be sought out?

  2. You’ve demonstrated your unhappiness (or lack of blind loyalty), and could be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain a raise. There is the possibility that you won’t ever be considered a team player again. Many employers will hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-workforce “hit list”.

  3. Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company. After the dust settles from this upheaval, you’ll be in the same old rut.

A rule of thumb among recruiters is that more than 80% of those accepting counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to twelve months anyway. Half of those who do succumb restart their job searches within 90 days.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you act gracefully. If you wish to leave, there is no harm in expressing appreciation of your company’s attempts to retain you. This is important even if you suspect their offer is primarily the result of a desire for convenience. Equally, if you receive an offer you cannot refuse from your current employer, remember that the way you turn down a prospective employer may leave a lasting and influential impression.

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