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A Journey South: Part Two - The Art of Resigning

Originally posted on LinkedIn in 2016


I'll firstly start with a big thank you to those that have shared, liked or commented on my previous article.  The post attracted much more interest and support than I imagined, and has also connected me to some great people in the South Island that I look forward to meeting in September.


Resigning

My next topic is not specific to relocating and is not always a pleasant thing to discuss, but resignations are a necessary step in the relocation process.  It is an art as opposed to a science, but is something that approached well can be a positive experience with the help of a few considerations.


Consideration One: Timing

Timing is a big thing to consider.  When you choose to move to a new city or country, you often know when you are going to be leaving for a reasonable period of time.  While most employment contracts may stipulate a minimum notice period, there are benefits by giving a longer notice period.  

One benefit is you give your employer more time to recruit your replacement and give more of a chance for a handover and smooth transition.  This additional time may help find candidate with the right fit over the quick role fill.

An earlier notice period may have some downsides.  Naturally you begin "checking out" after you resign, so you need to maintain discipline and focus for a longer.  You also need to be aware that you may need to move off large projects or tasks that continue past your departure date


Tip #1:Try to give your employer plenty of notice, even if it is approximate timings


Consideration Two: Your Last Day

Another important element of a resignation is your last day of work as they can not begin processes until the letter of resignation is confirmed.  If you are relocating, you need to commit to a date you are going to finish your role.  It's easy to approximate your departure, but can be harder to lock that date down.  Locking in the date early also helps when it comes to ending leases, booking transportation and providing potential employers with an available start date.

Some questions to ask when deciding your last day include the below questions.  Note that you may not be able to reach the desired outcome, particularly if there is a more pressing deadline to move already in place 

Are there any dates I need to be in the new location by?Are there any deliverables, projects or milestones you want to achieve before leaving? If so, what are the timings?Are there busy periods of the month or year you should be involved with, such as month end?If you are part of a small team, are there any people with annual leave booked that may be cancelled if you leave?


Tip #2: Work out the date of your last day at work as early as possible.

Consideration Three: Investment

When I refer to investment, think about what your employer is investing in you.  If you are being put through some external training or have an annual membership fee due, it may not be appropriate to receive that training if you are going to resign shortly after receiving it.  Think about how you would feel if you had an employee resign immediately after completing a company-paid course.

Businesses look at training as an investment into their employees and wish to see a benefit out of it through improved performance, application of learnings and other benefits that impact the business positively.  If a freshly trained employee were to leave after training, that investment quickly turns into a sunk cost.  Many companies have policies bonding employees for a set period after training for this very reason.


Tip #3: Be wary of attending courses or training if you intend on leaving the organisation.


This factored heavily into my resignation.  I was offered some training in Australia, which would have involved some costs (flights, accommodation, training course fees).  However I knew I was leaving in September.  So if I completed the course in July, the business would only see the training benefit for about 6 weeks.  It didn't feel appropriate to take the training and leave shortly after, so declined the opportunity


Consideration Four: Why are you Leaving?

The third thing to approach and discuss is the reasons why.  This is not an opportunity to have a vent about the negative things in your role, but it is a chance for your manager and employer to accommodate some of the gaps as to why you are leaving.

I recall telling both my manager and his manager about my plan to resign a few weeks ago.  We had some constructive conversation about why I was leaving (which I discussed in Part One), and we threw some ideas around that might allow me to stay.  We talked about whether buying an investment property in Dunedin to get started on the property ladder, flexible working hours, finding a role at another company site, and other alternatives.  It was a positive discussion to help me make sure I had looked at the options I had with my employer.

A good way to approach this difficult conversation and any potential bargaining is to be clear about your reasoning, and linking it back to what is important for you. If family is important to you and you are leaving because of work life balance, discuss that with your manager early so they can try to respond with opportunities to help you spend more time with family.


Tip #4: Be honest and link the reasoning back to your values.


Consideration Five: The Exit Plan

This is not something you do on your own, but you need to get an exit plan in place.  Even though you are gone, your duties remain and someone needs to take these over.  We can all appreciate the times someone has had a good exit plan, and we can all identify a time when someone hasn't and things get messy.


Tip #5: Get an exit plan in place early

Some good suggestions here are to document the key duties you do, and discuss with your manager and team who will take these over.  If you have the time, provide some documented processes (an old manager used to call them "the hit by a bus guide") or give handovers that would give a replacement the ability to perform the critical tasks.  Continuity after departure is an ideal position to leave the business.


Conclusion

A well thought out and planned approach to resigning can actually be beneficial, and turn what can be a disappointing and uncomfortable conversation into a constructive process towards a strong ongoing relationship with your employer and manager.  Communicating your intentions, reasoning and exit details early can also help your employer find a quality replacement, accommodate your needs if possible and keep the door open for future opportunities.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to provide more insight into my thoughts on entering a new job market and what to expect.

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