Do you daydream about making a grand exit from your job? If so, you are certainly not alone.
The 2016 Dale Carnegie Global Leadership Study found that 17 percent of Americans were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their job.
If you are one of those folks, here are some things you need to keep in mind about the resignation process so you can take the high road on to better things and leave with class.
Sure, you can job search on your lunch break, but remember to stay engaged with the tasks at hand in your current role. Your job search is the second priority to your primary job function during working hours. If you lose focus, check out during meetings or fall behind on deadlines, co-workers will notice and wonder what is going on. Some may assume it is stress or something outside of the office, but there is always that one intuitive colleague who accurately reads the cues.
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Do not call in sick every time you have a job interview. Schedule personal time or vacation time if you have advance notice of an interview. This will allow you the mind space to adequately prepare.
Some companies pay out vacation time but not sick time, so there is motivation to use vacation time first. But people will begin to wonder if you have some sort of serious health issue if you are out of the office every other day burning through your sick time. You can put a private meeting on your electronic calendar but, depending on your office culture, it might be best to add it to your personal calendar or make a note of the interview details and plan to take the personal time.
That leads to another question — should employees tell their supervisors they are interviewing for other jobs? Maybe yes, maybe no. Yes, if you have a great relationship with your supervisor and if they are knowledgeable of your long-term career goals and if you think they will be supportive of you moving forward in those goals.
If you list your supervisor as a reference, you should absolutely tell him or her of your interview details and the types of roles you are targeting. That is a lot of if.
If, however, you do not have this type of relationship with your supervisor, you should keep your interview plans private. Some people in this situation are fearful of retaliation and, unfortunately, sometimes such is warranted.
Be mindful with whom you share your interview plans. The only sure way to keep your plans private is to do just that and keep them to yourself.
So, let’s say you get the job. You need to write a professional, gracious and brief resignation letter. You may dream of resigning on a post-it, but keep it positive and classy. Do not go out in a blaze of burning bridges. Express your gratitude and share tangible skills and meaningful experiences you have gained in the role.
If you feel comfortable, share what your next steps are and how this role made you more competitive. If you are an hourly employee, it is typically recommended to give a minimum of two weeks notice. If you are a salaried employee, consult your human resources department as this varies. Some companies require two weeks, some four weeks notice in order to remain in good standing with the firm.
Schedule a brief meeting with your supervisor to share the resignation letter and discuss. Your resignation might be a surprise to your supervisor so be kind and verbally express gratitude.
While it might seem easier or less confrontational to drop the letter off on your way to lunch or at the end of the day, do not take this less than professional approach. Your supervisor might choose to email the news out to the team or ask you to make the announcement in person or via email.
Over the course of your final weeks in the role, work with your supervisor and team to build a checklist of action items that need to happen before your last day. This could include projects to wrap up, documentation of procedures or training of other staff members.
It is acceptable to express excitement about moving on, but do not start a public countdown of how many days you have left on the team. At the end of the day, your approach for resignation has a tremendous impact on how you are remembered in the role. Going about the process in a less than professional stance will certainly follow you to future roles by means of your reputation.
Remember that you never know where or with whom you will circle back to in the future. In the end, stay positive and professional. Move on to your next role via the high road with class and dignity.
Amanda Schagane serves as a career coach in the Gatton College of Business & Economics at UK. She is designated a Master Career Counselor by the National Career Development Association and has served as president for the Kentucky chapter of the organization. Join her on LinkedIn or email her at Amanda.Goldsmith@uky.edu.