Articles From the Team
Resigning from your job? How to navigate 'the break-up' conversation
Leaving a job is never easy. Your current firm afforded you an opportunity and invested in your training and development; helping you to progress your career. It's natural to feel a degree of loyalty regardless of your motivations to move. We're programmed to resist change and it takes courage to move on, even when you know things aren't right. In much the same way, it takes courage to end any relationship.
Once you've found the ideal job and decided that you're 100% committed to the move, then the final hurdle is to tender your resignation: the break-up!
It's important to mentally prepare yourself for this; you mustn't lose sight of why you felt it was time to move on in the first place: the relationship wasn't working.
The first step is to prepare a resignation letter (or email), which briefly advises your firm of your decision to move and specifies the date you wish to terminate your employment.
Following this, you'll have a meeting with your manager. This usually goes in one of two directions: your manager expresses disappointment that you're leaving but wishes you well and understands your reasons, or, they fight to keep you. Don't underestimate your value and be prepared for this. If your manager senses any hesitation, then they're far more likely to make an attempt to change your mind. Likewise, if you're firm and confident in the way you tender your resignation then they're less likely to feel that they can sway you, which makes the resignation process much easier and less emotionally charged.
Assuming you're a valued member of the team, it's natural for your manager to try to keep you; especially in the current climate where there's a shortage of good lawyers/solicitors - you aren't easily replaceable!
There are a number of things your manager may promise to tempt you to stay. These are the three most common:
- Increasing your salary (or promising a review)
- Giving you a promotion (or more often promising the likelihood of one in your next review)
- Giving you increased flexibility in the way you work (flexible hours, remote working, part-time, condensed hours etc.).
To a certain degree, it's flattering if your firm puts up a fight for you; they're finally demonstrating how valuable you are to the team, but don't let that flattery obscure your judgement. As with any break-up, you've known things aren't right for a while but he/she keeps telling you things will change - will they really? In the same way, you wouldn't waste your time with someone who no longer makes you happy, neither should you waste valuable years of your career at the wrong firm when you could be advancing and crucially, happier elsewhere.
Generally, those who are convinced to accept a counteroffer remain unhappy and unfulfilled in their jobs and statistics show they tend to move on within 6-12 months - either by choice or through redundancy. Once you've expressed your desire to move on, it's difficult to regain that trust and loyalty and sometimes it can make the working environment uncomfortable.
It's important to ask yourself why it reached the point of you resigning, before your concerns were taken seriously. Perhaps you didn’t feel comfortable having a frank and honest conversation with you manager so you never expressed your concerns, which is worrying in itself and raises questions about your manager's approachability.
Making the move
Moving jobs is emotional but it can be life-changing and often career defining. You'll be leaving colleagues who are friends; you'll be the new girl/boy. It's hard, but once the dust has settled, you'll feel a great sense of relief.
Here at BCL Legal, we help you find the ideal job and guide you through the resignation process. We keep in contact during your notice period and we're always on hand as a trusted advisor throughout your career.