One of the toughest aspects of landing that new job can be leaving the old one, in fact many people stay with their current employer through simple fear of dealing with this situation. If you have been with an employer for many years in a senior position, goodbye really can be the hardest word.
You are breaking the news that you are off – possibly to a competitor – to not just a boss but probably a good friend too. This is someone that you have been with through good times and bad, attended umpteen networking functions with them, possibly even socialised with them and their family outside work.
On average the candidates we place have been with their existing employers for six years plus. A critical part of our role is to make sure that they aren’t just ready to take the next step, but that they manage the departure from their existing employer in a positive and constructive way.
- Make sure your boss is the very first person to know : as soon as the ink has dried on the new contract, you owe it to him or her to be the first to know. It’s tempting to share good news with co-workers first, but that isn’t professional or courteous. Plus you have important issues to discuss such as notice periods and when and how they want to break the news to other colleagues. Hopefully they have a succession plan in place, but if not, it’s only fair to give them some time to think about this.
- Don’t burn bridges: leaving a long term role, particularly if you are moving to a competitor, is sensitive. While the majority of new roles work out, occasionally they don’t and you may want to stay connected with your current employer at the least for a reference and possibly even to negotiate returning.
- It’s not just words: we encourage clients to think really carefully about what they say in that meeting, to the point of scripting it out for them if necessary: it needs to be a positive conclusion. As an experienced consultancy we know what avenues to stay clear of to ensure clients don’t get ‘tied up in knots’.
- Ensure you leave your desk in order: it’s unfair on colleagues, and you, to leave without a proper handover. Your boss may even ask you to help with the transition of responsibilities. Don’t look on this as a chore: it puts you in the best possible light and any good new employer will appreciate you need to wrap things up.
- Keep looking forward: counter offering is on the increase. But if you’ve decided, often over a period of months, to leave a long term senior role, there will be very good reasons for this, not least lifestyle, and being offered a pay rise is usually a short term sticking plaster. Follow your career dreams.