Bite Your Tongue

Posted on: November 5th, 2013 by
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What do you say as you resign from a job you hate?  Answer?  As little as possible.  Revenge is not sweet all the time.  It could negatively impact your career.

Some people are tempted to correct all the errors of the past by blasting the organization, boss or others while resigning.  A word of advice:  Don’t do it.  If the organization isn’t smart enough to understand the issues and those responsible, it’s not your job or in your best interests to intervene.  Your best strategy is to move on to a better opportunity where your skills and talent will be valued.

What are your alternatives when resigning?  Pick the best one for you (not prioritized):

  • Write out all the ills of the organization, then hit the “save” button, not the “send” button
  • Write a one-sentence resignation with a date of termination, giving them time for transition
  • You’ll be asked for a reason once the word gets out.  Create a neutral rationale beforehand
  • Talk about greater opportunities elsewhere or a change of industry or function
  • Talk about lessening the stress level and/or family issues demanding your attention
  • If you feel you have to “help the organization identify and correct issues”, then put it in writing after major deliberation, in as positive a framework as possible.  Don’t do it verbally.
  • If required to do an exit interview, ask for the questions in writing beforehand, and respond in writing after carefully drafting your answers
  • Suggest an exit interview 3 months after you leave.  It will give you a better perspective
  • The best revenge is to have them miss your contributions when you’re gone
  • Write a letter to the President.  Write it as a consultant would:  Positive and sensitive.
  • Any communications need to be professional and not personal, to make it credible
  • There’s a good reason why the following quotes have stood the test of time:  “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…  Quit with a smile…  Don’t burn your bridges…  Bite your tongue…  Don’t say anything you’ll regret…   Count to 10 before speaking…”
  • If you want to make a difference, management is more likely to listen if they see your suggestions as serious, with value and concern rather than as a disgruntled employee
  • Lastly, how you leave an organization can affect your future career.  References can hinge on how you transition to another organization.  Think of it this way:  Assume the organization will consider your issues and solutions as valuable, and five years later they ask you to come back at a much higher level.  Isn’t that the best revenge?

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