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  Quitting Your Job: How To and How Not To Do It

Several months ago, my column discussed when to shut down a business. Oddly, in the last month, I’ve had several of my NACET clients have employees quit. And closer to home, my wife quit her job after three years. So, I decided to write this month on the two reasons you should quit and the two things you should consider when quitting.


Why did you take the job in the first place?


Before even considering moving on, ask yourself why you took the job in the first place. What were the things that excited you about the company, the job, the team or the career opportunity? (A little bit of advice: Never, never take a job purely for the compensation.)

Companies like Disney and Google tend to pay near or just below average because they are wonderful organizations for which to work. If someone offers you a job that pays way above average, that person may be trying to hide something. I learned that the hard way.

When my wife, Jill, took a position with a local company three years ago, she did so for four reasons: 1. She enjoys working with people and creating a positive culture (Jill and I worked together in one business and our employees always preferred to work with Jill because she is the better manager and is focused on a positive culture). 2. She knew our son and his wife were about to have our first grandchild and she needed flexibility to help out when needed. 3. Jill needs to be busy and contribute. She is smart and has lots of ideas for improving things. 4. Finally, she wanted a paycheck, but that was her lowest priority.

After three years, Jill struggled with two of the four. She realized she wouldn’t be able to change the organization and that other organizations in town did indeed value those skills, so she made the decision to leave. If, when you join a new organization, you and the organization are in agreement, but later that doesn’t prove to be the reality, then I believe that is a good reason to leave.


Has a better opportunity presented itself (or have you created one)?


In my opinion, the second reason to quit your job is because a better opportunity has presented itself, or better yet, you have created a better opportunity for yourself.

Earlier this week, I met with a good friend of mine who has for years wanted to start a business where she helps organizations address their culture, employee engagement and management communications. This comes from years of working for an organization where those things didn’t matter to her managers. I encouraged her to aggressively go after what she is passionate about. She is happy with her current job, but passionate about starting something on her own.

Historically, I’ve told my employees that if you are leaving to go to a better opportunity, or better yet, to start your own business, that’s great. But don’t take a new job as a way to just leave your current job.

I was criticized for only staying two or three years at each of my CEO positions, but I never interviewed or sought a new position while with an organization. Every new job was an opportunity that came to me.


NEVER accept the counter-offer from the organization where you resigned.


Once you have decided to leave your current employer (hopefully, because of one of the two reasons I’ve just written about) please do these two things: minimize the impact of your leaving as best as possible, and NEVER accept the counter-offer if one is given.

You can minimize the impact by giving at least a two-week notice. If you have the time before starting the new job, offer one month. The employer most likely won’t take a full month but you’ll leave on positive terms. NEVER just walk into the manager’s office and give a one-day notice. It is wrong for so many reasons and will come back to bite you one day.

As tempting as it is, never accept or even offer to listen to a counter-offer. Here is how it will go: your current employer will ask how much you are being paid in the new job. You’ll tell him or her and he or she will say, “What if we match it or even beat that offer?”

If you are leaving because of one of the two acceptable reasons, why would you even entertain a counter-offer? You have already made the decision to leave. Hopefully, you have given careful and honest consideration and reached the decision wisely.

If you do take the counter-offer from the employer, trust that what existed in the past with you will always be in question going forward. And, you will most likely end up leaving within a year anyway.

As we come to the end of 2016, I would like to thank everyone who reached out to me this year with questions and comments. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and that 2016 was a great year for you and your organization. FBN


 By T Paul Thomas

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