Resigning from a position with your current employer is often not easy. After all, you might be leaving a stable environment with lots of great people behind. In other cases you might be leaving because the environment is not stable or the work environment feels kind of hostile. I have been in these hostile environments where certain managers are out there to make your life miserable to cover up their own short-comings. Each situation can be unique, but in the end they often have something in common.
The process of detaching yourself from the known environment is not easy. No matter how good or bad the work environment has been, something new and unknown is ahead and that makes this a difficult step.
It is common for most jobs to give 2 weeks’ notice before leaving a job. From my own experience the process looks like this:
– Day 1-3: Relief that you have resigned, things are looking good.
– Day 4-7: A few doubts, some regrets, sadness.
– Day 8-10: Relief and excitement, you’re ready to start something new
I am counting in business days in this example. Depending on why you are leaving a place, this might look slightly different, but overall from when talking to friends and comparing it to my own experience this example is fairly accurate.
In a venture at a Fortune 250 company I left with very mixed feelings. I left some great people and lots of friends behind. My main reason was bad leadership in my department and many other folks were currently looking or had already left, too. If you would say “Somebody poisoned the water hole” I would consider that a fairly accurate statement. Reading up on employee motivation, productive management styles, and what companies would have to do to thrive in the current economy and to be prepared for the future – management in my department was doing the complete opposite. There was no plan or strategy visible, communication channels did not exist, employee concerns were totally ignored, internal customer complaints were reason to “punish” employees for bad performance. The list went on and on.
It is common knowledge that in such hostile environments things are turning against management. While these type of managers think (old school) that “strong” management styles like these will drive employees to work extra hard (due to fear of losing their jobs), studies have shown that this only works short-term. After a while fear is being replaced with efforts to find a new job with a different company that actually values their employees. I am still amazed how long it sometimes takes for upper management to wake up and realize that downstream managers have messed up their environment. I have seen environments that went from great to horrible in less than 6 months. A small change in management moved weak supervisors into positions of power and once let loose these weak managers destroyed successful teams that took years to build.
In addition of destroying internal teams, these managers also destroy the company’s reputation in the market and the word spreads fast. This will make it difficult to hire new, strong people because those people are smart enough not to touch these companies. In those cases even mid-level professionals can only be hired by dramatically increasing their salaries, which in return also leads to those people feeling over-competent and adding to the damage by doing work they are not qualified for.
When leaving a company for good it is important to leave for the right reasons and to be excited about the new opportunity. No matter what the existing management does to convince you otherwise or to make you feel bad about your move – it is important to ignore these efforts. While counter-offers can be a good thing in some rare cases, in most situations they are not doing you any good to consider them. Leave, but leave with pride. Provide good work until you leave. Life can be more exciting and better where you go and you should embrace it accordingly. For me personal happiness was always more important than money.