Friday, May 23, 2008

Career Guidance: I Quit!

Parting ways with an employer? Leave with grace, pride and poise

Sometimes you think the time has come to move on. Better wages, better working environment, better boss, better career prospects. I have changed jobs several times because I believe one has to gain tremendous work experiences when you are young. To be exposed to different industries and develop useful skills. So before you throw in that farewell letter, you may want to consider exiting like a professional. Making a graceful exit is critical to a long-term career track.

Why if you ask me? Naturally, if I am frustrated with my current job, don't I want them to show "who is the boss" around? First question to yourself first: do you want emotions to overrun you? What do you benefit? Now think about this:

(a) The business you are in can be a small one and the chances of encountering a former colleague or supervisor at another company is of higher chance

(b) You could become a co-worker, subordinate or manager to someone who knows people who know you

(c) You would want your professional references thinking and hearing - nothing but good things about you

I have thought of several strategies after careful analysis and have came up with some strategies:

1) Write a proper letter

Set the right tone for the departure by writing a professional resignation letter. You should present that letter personally to your upper management whoever is in charge. Never email or text your resignation. Keep your letter to the point. State that you are resigning, specify your last day of work and if you wish, give a reason for your departure. Even if you are leaving an unpleasant work situation, do not bring up anything negative. How to write such a letter? Google "resignation letter" and there will be sample copies in the internet. Alternatively, books are good sources of references. Keep a template that you feel comfortable in and change the relevant contents. Remember to end the letter by thanking your supervisor for opportunities that were provided to you.

2) Give ample notice

One month is usually the standard notice for resignation in Singapore but check your employee handbook to see if your employer has different expectations. If you have to leave soon, or would like to offer more transition time, tell your employer upfront. Do not be scared. Tell yourself the day of reckoning has come! However do not be surprised if you are asked to leave the very day you tender your resignation.

3) Be clear about compensation

On the day you resign, talk openly with your supervisor and if appropriate, human resources - about what your final compensation package will include. Again, consult your employee handbook before handling this important discussion. Do not be scared again. Ask yourself? You want the money? If not, then "donate" to the company. Do not forget to inquire about unused annual leave days. Make sure you know how much time you have before vital benefits, such as health insurance & others

4) Be ready for a counter-offer

If there is, do not dismiss it immediately. After all, if your employer thinks enough of you to ask you to stay, you should at least give the offer polite consideration. Even if you know you do not want to accept it, tell your supervisor you will consider the counter-offer for a specified length of time, such as 24 hours but keep your proposed departure date firm in the meantime. And if you are seriously tempted by the offer, think hard about why you are leaving the company in the first place. Its your career choice.

5) Don't "check out" prematurely

Once you have declared your intention to leave, remain an active and engaged employee. Complete as many projects as you can. You may consider having a checklist to pass your workload to your fellow colleague. Or a brief guide where files are located as well as phone numbers and email addresses of relevant contacts.

6) Keep things positive

On your last day, take the time to say goodbye to your colleagues and supervisors who have given you support and guidance. Provide your contact details and let them know they can get in touch with you if they have questions about the work you are leaving behind. Finally if you are offered an exit interview, use the opportunity to talk constructively about your experiences with the company.


Quitting from your workplace is never easy. You may have mixed emotions, made important contacts and have to leave your all-too familiar work environment. Even if you are unhappy about your current job scope, you may start wondering if your new job can give you the satisfaction you crave for. Will you be able to gel with the surroundings? How will your peers be like? How about your future boss? Therefore I believe you have to weigh the pros and cons carefully. To decide which is the most important factor for you to quit. Don't just say goodbye because of a trivia or you are not happy with your cubicle mate. Don't ever let emotions overrun your decision. Also, refrain from using the exit interview as a forum for personal venting.

Just make sure that when it is time to leave, others will remember you best as a professional who would be a pleasure to work with again same day.

Good luck when you make the next move :)

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