Job Tips

Leaving your job? Make a graceful exit

This is a column on workplace issues.

The Straits Times - November 19, 2012
By: Anita Gabriel
Leaving your job? Make a graceful exit

MR SOON ASKED: I have been headhunted and interviewed for a prospective job. After two interviews and a revised offer, I am now giving it some serious thought. Should I tell my current supervisor or employer about it or wait until I make a final decision?

How you leave a job is as important as how you get one. It's a simple rule, easy to forget given the mind-wrecking contemplations involved in switching jobs.

Break the news to your boss only when the offer is in the bag and you've made a decision.

Don't use it as a leverage for a counter-offer as it's not fair on your current or prospective employer. Besides, it doesn't reflect well on you. If you want to haggle, go to Chinatown.

Much depends on the rapport you have with your boss. Bosses recognise the fact that they are constantly faced with the possibility of employees leaving, be it for career development, better remuneration or various other reasons.

If you have a good relationship with your supervisor, it'll be cold, harsh even, for the boss to find out you are going by opening an envelope you've surreptitiously left on his or her desk with no prior heads up.

That happened to me once - when I was a supervisor - and I found it distasteful, especially because of the rapport we shared.

So, yes, by all means give your bosses the heads up but timing is crucial.

Don't spill the beans too early as the job offer may not pan out. If that happens, your job prospects in the current firm could be murky as your employer will think you're not a keeper.

Towers Watson's regional managing director, Mr Scott Burnett, echoes that sentiment: "You should let your supervisor know of your decision only after you've accepted the offer.

"If you inform him now and decide later not to accept (the job), your supervisor will consider your loyalty suspect."

Of course, it doesn't hurt to gently let your supervisors know of your "marketability" in case you think they're running low on acknowledging your good work. But that's only if you don't plan to sign a new employment contract - just yet, at least. Just don't overdo it as no one's going to take you seriously!

Courtesy to your current employer has its benefits. You never know when you may need a strong recommendation from past supervisors for future undertakings. That's easier to do if you leave on good terms.

Also, never rule out the possibility of a return - once out there, you may appreciate your "old" job more and long to get back.