Congratulations! You’ve spent hours pouring your heart and soul into your CV and crafting the perfectly worded cover letter. You’ve been through all the interviews, assessments and nerves. You probably told all your friends about this fantastic opportunity – perhaps you made it seem like you had it in the bag… (then desperately regretted that whilst staring at your phone waiting for feedback). You even overcame the “do I wear a tie?” dilemma. Having received an offer, you’ve won the battle; but you haven’t yet won the war.
In an ideal world, the fact that you’re exploring opportunities to advance your career won’t come as a surprise to your manager. Hopefully they recognise it as a direct reflection of their investment in developing you. Best case scenario: you’ve spoken with them before you start applying for jobs, letting them know your intentions and gaining their support as a referee. It would be naïve to believe this is everyone’s reality though, and this can be a tricky conversation. Reference checking may take place during the interview process before an offer is made – the offer may even be subject to references. In most cases, we will require at least one reference from your most recent employer.
These are not unusual and are very flattering, but can also be confusing. Suddenly, emotions come into the equation – emotions you thought you had already dealt with before you clicked ‘apply now’. It’s important to try and take emotion out of the decision – this is the hard part.
Why was I looking to move on? (Does the counter offer address these?)
Why did I have to resign to have my concerns addressed?
If I stay, what will my career look like in 6, 12 and 24 months’ time versus if I leave?
It is fairly common practice to be asked to leave immediately upon resigning, particularly in more senior positions. It’s important to consider this and be prepared, because it can be upsetting. It’s not personal, it is recognition of the valuable information and influence you have in the business.
Once again, in an ideal world, this will not come as a surprise to your manager. You may be nervous, so perhaps have a think about what you might like to say before you meet with your manager. You should meet with your manager; simply emailing your manager is unprofessional and frankly, a little gutless. Be gracious, thankful for the opportunities or lessons you’ve received, and never burn bridges; New Zealand is very, very small. Your resignation is not official until it is given in writing, which should include the date of resignation and the date you will finish with your employer. This does not need to be an essay, but once again: keep it classy.
It seems rather obvious, but many of the people I deal with are unprepared for the process of receiving and accepting an offer of employment. When we’re hitting ‘apply now’, we either imagine ourselves in that job straight away, or the self-preservation tactic of ‘I probably won’t get it anyway’ kicks in. It’s important to prepare yourself for all the steps along the way – including navigating the offer.