Thursday, December 20, 2012

When You Resign – What if Your Current Boss Doesn’t Want to Let You Go?

If you received a signed job offer, congratulations by the way, all that is left to do is resign from your current and soon to be old job – easy, right? Well, it‘s not always so simple. Unless you hate your job and you think your boss is a jerk, resigning is not so easy if you want to leave on good terms. You do want to leave on good terms; in the future you’ll need references and you don’t want to exit with the equivalent to showing your middle finger on your way out the door. The reaction of your boss could vary, but I want to discuss only two possibilities; whether they accept your resignation, or they do not want to accept your resignation. I see no need to discuss any unpleasant reactions you may experience, because such a situation will further validate your decision to leave anyway.
If you’ve been a good employee, have you considered your boss may not want to let you go so easily? He might, at the very least, ask you to reconsider and remain where you are. Perhaps they may even attempt to entice you to stay with a counter–offer and why not? Companies don‘t like to lose good and productive employees. Often it‘s harder and more expensive for companies to find a similarly qualified and effective replacement than it is to do what might be necessary to keep you. While you likely don’t have any negative feelings toward your current boss, you just want to resign and get it over with so you can move on. You schedule a meeting and communicate your resignation and, surprise, he or she is reluctant to accept your departure plans and they don’t want you to leave. You may not experience this but, if you do and your intention is indeed to leave for a new job, you should be prepared for the resignation drill.
I’ve witnessed many different reasons suggested to people about why they should reconsider or delay a decision to leave. It is possible they really don‘t want you to leave. Likewise, you‘ve probably caught your boss unprepared, so his initial reaction is to buy time and put off this conversation. As a result, you could be asked to delay and hold that thought  until they look into what can be done to keep you and prevent you from leaving. Sometimes it is legitimate, but is also just as often meant to buy some time, so your boss can then talk to their boss and determine how best to deal with the sudden news. At this moment, whether or not they really want you to stay is a secondary concern for your boss. So, let’s be real and avoid pessimism, let’s be positive. When it’s time to resign, don’t just walk up to your boss and ask to speak with them at that moment, ask for an appointment or a time when they are available. If they prevaricate, suggest it is an important matter about which you’d like to speak privately. Sure, they may suspect there is a problem, but this is not something to discuss in the hallway or in the presence of others. If, when you resign, they will accept your decision, both sides can shake hands and wish each other luck. However, if it does not go smoothly, be prepared to deal with counter–offers or other surprises.
If you are worried, if you are concerned you don’t have the resolve, or feel pangs of guilt about resigning, consider this; if your boss had a new opportunity, do you think he would think twice or let anyone hold him or her back?
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