You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, and sometimes that includes turning in your resignation from a job. How do you know if you’ve reached the end of your rope, unable to make your current position bearable, or workable? After all, good jobs are hard to find. They’re even harder to find if you’re unemployed. Still, there are good reasons to end the misery.
The most compelling reason to jump ship would be if the company is in a tailspin, losing business and headed toward closure or bankruptcy. Some may consider deserting a sinking ship to be dishonourable. Most would consider it the right thing to do, especially if it is a large company in a small town, or if you have a family to support. A large scale closing will send throngs out looking for work. Being ahead of the pack here is probably a good thing.
Another valid reason would be observing the company’s tolerance for unethical practices, lying about shipping dates, sales numbers, or quality of products, to improve sales. Alternatively, if the company is stealing proprietary information from the competition, that’s another prompt to pack up and find another gig.
A third reason that is beyond your control is a difference in values. If you are at odds with your company culture, that won’t likely change, and you’ll continue to be unhappy. Make a note of that and be sure you thoroughly understand the culture surrounding the company in your next position.
Some reasons have a little more give and take than the previous three. If your status has changed, you might find that the job that kept little ole’ you happily ensconced in a cosy apartment with basic meals, food, and reasonable entertainment, won’t stretch its pay-check to support a spouse, parent, or family. If your skills have continued to advance, it might be as simple as asking for a raise, applying for a new position within the company, or changing benefits through your human resources department. If your duties and responsibilities haven’t changed much, it may be inappropriate to do anything but look for a better paying position with another company.
Similarly, if your stress level is simply too high, talk with your boss about it. There may be some things you can do to relieve the situation before a complete burnout renders you useless. Rearranging tasks, adjusting priorities, or sharing responsibilities with co-workers can all help to take some of the burden off your shoulders. If there aren’t sufficient options, do consider your physical and mental health first, taking your skills elsewhere to alleviate the problem.
If you’re bored, feeling unchallenged, and simply dread going to work, schedule a talk with your boss, but do a little thinking ahead of time. What would make your job more interesting? Additional challenges? Heavier workload? Some goals to work toward? A shift in focus? Your boss won’t want to lose you if you’ve been a good employee, and it’s usually easier to change your job description than your place of employment. Notice, we said ‘usually.’ Some companies just won’t see you as anything but the category of skills you walked in the door with. If they don’t see your potential, and can’t offer more interesting work, it could be time to check out some options at other companies.
Are you feeling stuck, with no growth or promotions on the horizon? Again, talk with your superiors. You may just be unaware of the opportunities that exist within the company. If you’re doing a good job where you are, some managers won’t want to lose you to another position, putting their needs ahead of yours. Most bosses would rather see employees stretch their wings and soar, but won’t go out of their way to offer you a new post. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, so explore within the company first. You might find just what you want right under your nose.
Some reasons may have been caused by your own behaviour. If you’ve been dishonest, not lived up to your word, haven’t showed up on time, or have gone AWOL for unexplainable reasons, you may have dug your own hole. Now that you’re down there, it might be near impossible to climb out. It’s always worth a try, however, to turn over a new leaf, begin showing up, volunteering, and doing good work. If that doesn’t change your boss’s opinion of you, it’s time for a change. Take that lesson with you, however. Show up, do good work, follow through, and you won’t be looking for another job again so soon.
Have you had an office disagreement, or burned bridges with your boss or co-workers that just can’t seem to be repaired? There are always going to be minor disagreements, and being the bigger person by offering an apology, or making peace, can go a long way toward making work life tolerable again. If the damage is too severe, it may be one of the hardest lessons learned as you leave the post for greener pastures.
If you’re feeling unappreciated, there are probably others feeling the same way. Outline a plan to head an employee recognition team, then present it to your boss. It may boost morale for many, and will create some good will among those who work on the committee, as well as among those who receive the honours. Make sure the activity doesn’t take people away from tasks that are important and profitable for the company at critical times, and be respectful of schedules, keeping meetings short and productive.
If you’re determined that things just can’t work out at your present job, it’s extremely important to resign properly, professionally, politely, and with a positive note. Make sure your boss is the first to know, extending thanks for help and support along the way while citing what you’ve learned and accomplished. Then send a note around to co-workers.
It is usually adequate to give two weeks’ notice before departure, sometimes longer if your position is a key spot that will be hard to fill. Offer to train your replacement, and to be available for questions after you leave. It’s also a good plan to ask for a reference letter, especially if you’re leaving on good terms. There, everything’s nicely tucked in for a professional departure. Good luck!