Alexis is a millennial, a hot property in her field. She starts her fifth job tomorrow. Leaving her last one gave her a shock. She believes others her age need a primer about how to leave.
1. What notice? It’s not just giving two weeks’ notice. It could mean Resignation Hell for you. They could take you off of projects or ask you to leave right away. The boss could take it personally and show you a cold, mean shoulder. Think this through. Weigh your potential risks.
2. Understand your contract. That thing you didn’t read when you joined the company? Do it now. What did you commit to do? A non-compete? (They mean it.) A prohibition against poaching other employees or clients? (Tell those eager fans to wait). Know what binds you and the consequences of violation.
3. Put on your armor. People will now be more blunt with you. No need to be nicy-nice to you now. Don’t take it personally. They might just envy your courage to leave.
4. Be prepared for the company’s slippery behavior around money. Vacation payments and bonus payouts don’t happen. Paid time off doesn’t get paid. Before you leave (repeat: BEFORE you leave), take a look at your pay stub, your company policies, employee practices and your contract. March into the payroll person’s office with a chipper greeting and a list of what’s owed in your final check. It astonishes the employees who don’t check and the companies that ignore the extras they owe till you insist on getting them. Don’t leave thousands of dollars in that hateful boss’ pocket.
5. You could get a counteroffer when you announce your departure. Alexis went job shopping because she wanted a counter when she presented a job offer. She didn’t intend to leave, but she loved the new company so much and her old one treated her so badly, she took it. They put a gag order against her telling co-workers about the new place after she enthusiastically praised its great benefits!
If you take the counter to stay, get the cash now. Don’t obligate yourself to staying in a place that will rapidly lose its charm after this experience.
6. Remember the first and simplest rule of commerce: A company is a business and a business is all about money. Trust no one till you know you can. Tell no one your career plans if you’d be putting yourself at risk. Know your value to the company before you venture forth thinking you have a bargaining chip.
7. Know how to enter the new job. Be on fire, but not in a way that bashes others or makes them angry. Work hard to learn the culture and boundaries of the new company.
8. As always, it’s ALL about relationships. Most industries, however vast, are decidedly local and rely on relationships to grease the wheels of commerce. Alexis’ snapping old boss? He’ll need her for something and will call, with smarmy charm. She’s right to understand relationships are the blocks on which she’ll build a successful career.
Millennials, go smarter and create a better, kinder world.
Rose Jonas, Ph.D., is The Job Doctor and author of "Can I Lie on My Resume?" and the e-book "Living on Stress Mountain: How to Be Okay When Your Life Sucks." She is an executive coach and consultant to privately held companies. Website: www.rosejonas.com. Blog: www.jobdocusa.blogspot.com