Career Advice

Should You Stay or Should You Go? Is It Time to Resign?

Lisa Johnson Posted by Lisa
min read

Feeling disgruntled, bored, burned out, stressed, unhappy or just wanting something else? Is that you in your current job?  Is it time to think about going somewhere else? Here is a word of warning: it's FAR easier to think about changing jobs than to actually do it.  You are seduced by the idea of that ideal new role – the nicer offices, the nicer people, the money, the opportunity for career development...  

But you would be shocked to discover how many people think they want a new job, but, when it actually comes down to it, will not actually accept the offer of a new one. Say what?  You mean people go looking for a new job, but when they get offered something, they don't or will not take it?  How did that happen? It not only does happen, but it happens more and more every month in a job market where companies want the 'best' and where there are fewer and fewer people who meet their expectations.

Josephine Blog (the job applicant) has applied for a job she has seen online because she is fed up at work.  She goes for the interview and gets a job offer and then goes in to hand in her resignation.  And the unexpected happens.  Her boss panics and makes a counter offer.  The fear of losing a good person puts the fear of you-know-who into her ('you-know-who' is not, despite what a 12 year old might tell you, Voldemort), and he throws money and promises of career progression at Josephine to entice her to stay.  And Josephine is flattered – it's looking like her current employer is going to offer her all those things that she needed to reinvigorate her career.  And, let's face it, 'It's better the devil you know,' right?  So she decides to stay.

I will write later on why counter offers rarely work in the long term, but if you are thinking of looking for a new job, I suggest you prepare yourself for what you will do if you are counter offered and asked to stay.  And then I suggest you test your employer. Here’s how: Make a list of the things you are looking for in a new job.  Then rank them. Be ruthless.  Really focus on what it is that you want. Is it working closer to home, more money, more responsibility, less responsibility, a more challenging job, a clear career progression path or flexible hours?  If your current employer could meet your top three requirements (but isn't), then it's time to see if they are willing to change. Ask for a meeting with your boss.  

Start by outlining some of your best achievements and why you enjoy working for the company.  

Then calmly, rationally and with great respect, tell them what you would like, outlining your requirements).  See what they do. Then, if you are given the run around or flatly denied or only given vague promises, you know that you can now look for a new job with the knowledge that your current employer is not in a position to give you what you want.  And, if they then counter offer you when you go to resign, I ask you this – why weren't they prepared to offer you those conditions when you asked but are now that you have resigned?  Why are you worth more today and not yesterday?