How to leave with your head held high...

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It’s been coming for a while, you’ve thought about leaving, run the scenario through in your head. You’ve spoken to friends, family, perhaps even fellow colleagues. It’s something you’ve been working towards; the time spent preparing your CV, the research before meeting companies, the days set aside for interviews; it’s all been amounting to this moment.

Now you’ve received the offer, you’ve accepted the role, you’ve celebrated, had a pat on the back from everyone that you’ve quietly shared the news with. There’s just one stumbling block in the way. One conversation that’s beginning to fill you with a sense of dread:

Handing in your resignation and navigating your notice…

Whether you’ve worked with your manager for ten years or ten months, breaking the news can be a daunting prospect. It’s the point of no return. It’s the break up.

For some this conversation provides a much anticipated opportunity for honesty, a cathartic release, a sense of finality. You may have been looking forward to this conversation, especially if there are things you’ve wanted to tell your manager for a while but have kept bottled up. No matter how confident you are heading into a resignation meeting, it’s important to handle things professionally.

You may begin thinking about how you can alleviate the situation. What can you say that will make the conversation less awkward? Do you need to tell the truth? Lies will make everything better, right? It will be nicer for my manager to hear.

Suggestions on how to handle the conversation will come from all quarters:

  • “Don’t tell them anything at all”
  • “Just say you need a break”
  • “Tell them you’re relocating”
  • “Say you just hate the company!”

Please, at all costs, avoid the above.

References play a key part in future appointments and, rightly or wrongly, your final four weeks will be at the forefront of a company’s recollection of the time you were employed there. Accordingly, this period will play a detrimental role in their decision as to whether to provide a positive reference further down the line!

So how can you leave on a positive footing, head held high, without a trail of aggrieved colleagues in your wake?

  • Be calm: don’t hand in your notice in an emotionally charged state!
  • Be brave: tell your manager face to face
  • Be clear: make sure you are certain of the reasons you’re leaving before you sit down with your manager
  • Be honest: explain why you are going, but avoid being too negative about your current role/employer. Your manager may own the company!!
  • Be assured: Don’t feel pressured to justify your reasons for leaving if you don’t want to
  • Be reasonable: Do not refuse to work your notice. It is probably in your employment contract and is therefore legally binding. Agree to a full and thorough handover. There may be projects that need passing across, introductions that need to be made with clients and knowledge that you need to share with co-workers
  • Be aware: While serving your notice it can also be worthwhile to agree the information they are happy for you to include in your portfolio. No matter your role on a project, some things can be off limits and it’s best that your manager knows what work-related samples you intend to take with you
  • Be gracious: Thank them for the opportunity, you’ve probably learnt a great deal and the professional development you’ve gained was likely instrumental in securing your new role!

Leaving on a positive note ensures you don’t start your next role with a negative mindset. Helping to ensure the company is prepared for your departure can be cathartic and you can look forward to the next chapter of your career.

At Beeken Reeves, we support Architects and Designers at all levels to find challenging and innovative new opportunities. With over thirty years of high profile experience, our dedicated team of professionals are on hand to discuss your situation and provide a tailored. If you would like a conversation, get in touch!

Written by Chris Reeves, Director of Beeken Reeves