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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2006

Steely Resignation

Exiting one job for another will test the loyalty of employee and employer. Here s how to say I quit, and come out on top

Once you ve accepted the offer with your new employer and set the start date, obviously the next step is to let your current employer know you ll be leaving. Write a brief letter of resignation; the operative word here, of course, is brief. If you feel a need out of loyalty or guilt to write anything more than a few short sentences, curb it.

The only information your letter needs to contain are the following two (possibly three) items:

That you are leaving your current company;

What your last date of employment will be; and

If you feel comfortable adding a sentence or two about how you enjoyed working for your current company, and you appreciate the opportunity to have been a part of the organization, include that as well.

It should NOT include:

Why you are leaving;

Where you are going;

What you will be doing in your new position;

How much you will be making when you get there; or

How bad you feel about leaving (or conversely, how glad you are to be going!).

Make an appointment with your boss and hand-deliver the letter. Tell him or her verbally the same words what your letter says, because the meeting is courteous and professional, while the letter is a formality for record of your employment. And be prepared for one of three things to happen.

Either your boss will professionally acknowledge your resignation, say how sorry he is to have you go and shake your hand or he will become very silent just before he asks you what it would take to keep you. Or quite possibly, he ll do the former, and you ll be asked to another meeting later so that he can find out what it will take to keep you.

If your company truly is professional, you ll resign, shake hands and that will be that. But it doesn t always go down that way, which takes us into the second way to resign, which actually is in danger of not being a resignation at all. It only starts out that way.

The first thing you need to know is that a counter offer is not a sincere and genuine statement of their desire to keep you around for as long as you might decide to stay: if you, in fact, you change your mind and accept their counter offer. Their ploy is to eliminate any mental separation you ve created between yourself and them and give you reason to question your decision to go.

What you ve just done by resigning is to put the company at a disadvantage. You are creating an opening, and you ve left your company at a loss. By resigning, you ve basically said, I m not interested in this company any more. You ve caused your loyalty to be questioned. You are in control, and they are not. If your boss invites you in for a concerned chat, you re better off sounding like a broken record - repeating your thank you and my last day is ... then you are involving yourself in what appears to be a caring conversation about your ensuing future.

It doesn t matter what you want or what you ask for, because they ll give it to you in one form or another, or possibly offer you something tasty before you even speak up, whether it s a promotion, a raise, more perks or heftier bonuses. After they ve lulled and flattered you into submission, and as you walk out the door smiling and congratulating yourself, they re calling the newspaper or a recruiter and ordering up a confidential replacement.

In 25 years of recruiting, I have never, ever, ever seen an accepted counter offer work in favor of the individual.

Don t, for a minute, think I am being overly dramatic. A counter offer is a complete and 100-percent appeal to your ego and an attempt to push your guilt button. It s unprofessional of your company to attempt it, and it s unprofessional (and ill conceived) of you to take it.

It might be a month, or six months, but eventually, your next departure from the company will be on their terms, not yours.

Judi Perkins, owner of Bethel, CT, based VisionQuest, has been a search consultant for 25 years. You can sign up for her free newsletter at www.FindThePerfectJob.com

Copyright CTW Features

By Judi Perkins

CTW Features


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