Resigning with professionalism

In Thailand, many companies package their compensation with significant year-end bonus payments. As a result, it’s not unusual for people to submit resignation letters after they have their bonuses in hand. If you’re a manager, you may have received some of those letters last month, or you might receive one any day now.

Most organisations have a policy requiring people to submit resignation letters at least a month before the date on which they wish to leave. However, many employees count unused annual leave as part of the notice period, so in many cases a person will be gone only two weeks after informing you. That’s not enough time to make a proper transition for the new replacement _ if you’re lucky to find a proper one in time.

If you’re considering leaving your current job for a new one, inadequate notice could damage not only the organisation but also your own reputation. You’ll be seen as inconsiderate by old bosses and possibly by new ones if word gets around. With that in mind, here are some things to consider once you decide to leave your existing employer:

  1. Be sure you have someone to replace you. This process is something that should have been ongoing for quite some time _ ideally your first day on the job if you are in a particularly senior or strategic position. When you submit the resignation letter to your boss, tell him or her who your successor is. If you don’t have a successor, the next tip is crucial.
  2. Give more time to your existing employer. Two months’ notice in advance is quite fair. Ideally, three months would be appropriate if you’re in a key position. Why? Because it takes at least 30-45 days to find a replacement _ particularly if someone must be recruited from outside.
  3. Work hard or even harder than usual after you submit the resignation letter. Why? Because it’s in your best interest. People will remember you as a highly accountable individual. What’s in it for you? First, it will be a great reference for you in the future. Imagine that one day you are a candidate for a significant post. How would your future boss react if she got a great reference about you like that? Apart from that, you might be recruited back to the existing organisation in a more senior management level. Again, imagine how people would welcome you based on your past references.
  4. Prepare an additional work manual. Most organisations have a work manual, but it may be out of date or lacking in details. Mostly, it gives a broad scope of work. It leaves much room for guesswork and may not really be practical. Most of us must learn to fill in the blanks through our own experience. It requires a trial-and-error approach. Don’t let that experience leave the organisation with you. In the manual you prepare, leave less room for guesswork _ reduce the trial-and-error rate for your replacement. If you also have left a proper amount of time for the handover as mentioned before, this additional work manual will be a great start for your successor.
  5. Don’t comment negatively on anyone in your existing organisation. You may feel the people at the new employer are better than the people you’ve been working with, but you can’t really judge that until you spend time there. Most of us tend to have a positive bias towards the new organisation. It may be more delusion than fact. Remember the old saying: “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
  6. Quit for the right reasons. Writing on the Harvard Business Review’s blog network, Daniel Gulati reported the results of his research into the most common career regrets. The number one regret is: “I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money.” Don’t go after the money. If you’re a talent in your existing organisation, the chance for you to be promoted is supposed to be high. When you get promoted you’ll earn more anyway.If you quit a job, it should be because the new employer is offering a better chance for you to do what you do best. If your boss asks you to stay, you have to weigh what he’s offering to see if it gives you more chances to use your strengths. Don’t ask for more money to stay _ money will come if you’re good enough.
  7. Don’t lie. The two top untruthful reasons people give for leaving a job are: “I’m leaving to take care my parent/child/relative” and “I plan to further my studies.” People will know the truth eventually. Tell the truth that you are going to a new place because of a “career opportunity”.
  8. Leave with gratitude. You’ve been hired by the new organisation because it values your experience, some or all of which you obtained at your existing one. Hence, be thankful to the people you are leaving behind. Don’t burn your bridges.