If you're facing challenges at work, it may cause you to want to up and quit. This can cause significant financial and professional consequences when you make a sudden decision to leave your job. To help you and others go about your resignations in the best way, I asked HR managers and business leaders for tips on what you can do so you don't regret resigning from your job. From making a pros-and-cons list to addressing concerns with your manager before resigning, there are several pieces of advice that should guide how employees carry through their decisions to resign from their current employment so as not to regret it later.
What to Do Before you Resign from Your Job
Make a Pros-and-Cons List
We get used to the good things quickly. For example, we might appreciate that our employer pays us back for the internet or gives us a budget for training and development. Unfortunately, after a while, we tend to forget about the good stuff and focus on things that could have been better. As humans, we often see the grass greener on the other side rather than being grateful for what we already have.
The same rule applies to job resignations. Employees often base their decisions on a few things that annoy them in their current work rather than looking at the whole picture. That's why it's a good idea to make a pros and cons list of your current job before making any decisions about switching jobs. By doing so, you will consider all positive and negative aspects of your current employment and decrease the risk of regretting your decision later.
- Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer
Exhaust All Career Growth Options at Your Current Company
While resigning from a dead-end job makes sense, leaving a position where you might've had chances for career advancement can cause regret. Before making a hasty decision to resign, consider availing yourself of any skills training your company offers as part of its Learning & Development program. Be proactive in setting up a meeting with your manager to discuss a raise or promotion. You can also try handling an important project that would look good on your resume when applying for future jobs. Once you've exhausted all such options, you can move on, knowing there wasn't much to gain from that job, preventing any regrets about leaving.
I always recommend professionals take charge of their career progress instead of idly waiting for opportunities to come by. As long as you have around four months' finances in your bank and a strong resume, resigning from a dead-end job can be a safe and effective way of motivating yourself to move on to better things.
- Anjela Mangrum, Mangrum Career Solutions
See my feature in: 12 Considerations When Applying To The Same Company for a Different Position
Don't Make a Resignation a Spur-of-the-moment Decision
It is normal for humans to feel regret when making "big decisions" if such a decision can make them lose something, such as resigning from a job. Sure, employees can miss their ex-workmates, but regret often begins when employees' expectations after resigning are not met. So for an employee not to regret resigning, it is important that they clearly identify their goals (personal and career-wise) and determine if resigning is the best way to achieve such goals. If the employee still wants to quit to work for another company, they should have a good idea of the company he's hoping to work for, especially its work culture. By doing so, they can prevent the so-called "shift shock."
Lastly, they should have a backup plan if things don't go as planned. By having a backup plan, the employee can focus on achieving their career goals instead of regretting any of the past decisions they made.
- Jonathan Baillie Strong, Spotlight Podcasting
Write a Professional Resignation Letter
Give your notice in writing, and be professional about it. Taking the time to write a professional resignation letter, and giving your employer appropriate notice, will help smooth the transition and avoid any hard feelings.
This way, you can maintain a good relationship with your former employer and start your new job on the right foot. Moreover, you never know when you might need a reference from your previous employer.
- Asako Ito, Divine Lashes
Make a Wish List to Avoid Regrets
Whenever an employee is contemplating resigning from a job, it can help to make a wish list to avoid regrets. The wish list should be everything that would have to change to make an employee stay at their current company/position. Even if the wish list seems unrealistic, create it.
Whether it is a raise, a change in supervisor, a new position, a different team, more paid time off, or incorporating work-from-home options, include whatever it would take for you to stay. Once the wish list is created, review it and see how realistic it is. It may not be realistic for the company to move headquarters from Phoenix to New York, but there may be opportunities in other areas for change. When the employee gets a new job offer, they will already have a list of their wants and a list to take to their current employer of changes that would have to happen for them to stay. Creating a wish list helps develop goals as well as helps recognize where employees are unsatisfied in their current work.
- Bryor Mosley, Southern New Hampshire University
Always Leave on Good Terms
When you leave on good terms, you continue to build a positive relationship with your employer/colleagues. Then, if the new gig doesn't work out, or if you want to work for the company again in five years, you have an open door.
I've hired good people back after two weeks and two years - always with joy. At the same time, how a company treats outgoing colleagues reflects how they treat current employees. Others notice how you leave, how you are treated, and how you treat the people you are passing work over to. Work with your supervisor to create an environment of trust and cooperation. You never know when you will need these people in your network or when you can do them a good turn. It's a small world and a long road.
Stephanie Miller, Victory Song Marketing Consulting
Address Concerns With Your Manager Before Resigning
The only time I regretted resigning was when I gave my employer notice without addressing my concerns or reasons for leaving. I remember accepting the new job offer before telling my current employer I was quitting. When I gave my two-week notice, my manager was visibly upset and confused. When I mentioned my concerns about my pay and growth potential, he said that he wished I had told him sooner so that he could address both of those issues.
As a manager, I have been on the receiving end of employees resigning, and in most cases, I wish I could have addressed their concerns before they quit. I advise employees to address their concerns with their manager before they resign. In most cases, your manager will appreciate your honesty and work with you to correct the issues. If not, you can then leave regret-free.
- Andrew Eagar, Technology Advice