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With millions of people switching jobs in the Great Resignation, how to leave a position without burning bridges is an increasingly pressing question. Episode 48 of the Faithful on the Clock podcast highlights tips for taking your exit with grace and tact.
[00:35] - Job shifts are common, with most people changing positions 12 times over their careers.
[01:03] - Scripture has examples of position changes, such as with Moses and the disciples. God will prepare you if He wants you to do something different, so you don’t have to be stressed.
[01:53] - Many people regret leaving during the Great Resignation and already are looking for new jobs. Lack of due diligence and the perks packages employers are offering play into this.
[03:17] - Employees should ask questions as they interview, shadow, etc. to find out what the company and work really is like.
[04:00] - Most employees regret leaving old jobs because the new ones weren’t what they expected. This suggests that employers aren’t doing a good job of communicating their culture or the responsibilities of the role. They should work hard to represent the work truthfully and to hire for long-term benefits, not fast gains, because hiring repeatedly when people aren’t satisfied is costly.
[05:37] - The hiring situation can get dicey, so I’m laying all this out to help you understand how important it is not to burn bridges and to support the entire industry.
[06:15] - Be open about why you want to leave, presenting the opportunities so that the old employer can learn how they can grow and support their teams in the future.
[07:19] - Give yourself time and be clear about when the exit will happen. Tying up loose ends and offering a distinct transition date helps you come across like a team player right up until the end.
[08:33] - Give thanks as you leave. There has to be someone you’re grateful to or something you’ve learned, so present that as having prepared you for the next step you’re taking. This will help the people you leave feel like they helped you.
Changing jobs is incredibly common, and God called people to different professions all the time in scripture.
About 20 percent of those who participated in the Great Resignation regretted leaving their job. This likely has to do with both peer pressure, the feeling like there wasn’t much time to make the decision, and the attractive perks packages employers use to recruit new hires.
I recommend that employees ask questions, shadow, and read reviews to get a sense of what a company is really like.
Almost ¾ of workers felt like their new job wasn’t what they expected. This suggests that new employers need to communicate better about what positions will be like or require. They should see hiring as a long game and think about the long-term value and fit of the employee, rather than trying to just fill a job fast, because constant hiring and recruitment is expensive.
Be open and clear about why you are leaving. Help the new employer see how the new position will help you grow so they have a picture of where their own gaps are.
Help smooth the transition so people see you as a team player to the bitter end.
Express gratitude as you leave. This is in the spirit of God and will help you see the good in what you’re leaving. It will help others feel good to know what you have learned or gained.
Identify specific tasks to do that will help others through your exit.
Take opportunities in your final days to clarify to others how they have helped you.
Be direct and clear in your communication about the new job so there is no confusion about what needs to happen or why.
What’s coming up next:
In Episode 49 of the Faithful on the Clock podcast, I identify the key signs your company isn’t valuing you the way you should. I also offer some guidance on how to get your manager or colleagues to see your value.
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Well hello there, listeners! You are listening to the Faithful on the Clock podcast, the show where my focus is getting your faith and work aligned. In today's episode, we're talking about how to leave your job without burning bridges. I know with the Great Resignation we've got tons of people who are wanting to shift their positions and careers, so I think this episode will come in really handy. I'm heading right into it, so come on and join me.
All right everybody. So when we talk about job changes, I just want to reassure you, some turnover is completely normal, and in fact, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that most people change jobs roughly 12 times over the course of their entire career. So this is not something that is isolated to the pandemic, but certainly, I think the Great Resignation is putting more of an emphasis on how to leave a job with tact and good preparation.
And when we look at scripture, we see that God called people out of the professions they had all the time. Moses, King David, Joseph, they all tended to flocks early on, and then God called them to positions of authority over Israel. New Testament, of course, you’ve got the calling of the disciples, you know they used to be fishermen and tax collectors and different professions before they followed Jesus and started preaching. And so it’s pretty common for God to move people around and prepare them for greater work. And He makes sure we’re ready for those moves. Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” And I want you to know that if God wants to shift you somewhere, He’s not gonna do it without also giving you the tools you need to succeed, all right? That should take some of the stress out of it and give you a little more confidence.
But the first thing that I want to point out here is that there was actually an article published in the BBC that indicated that, of the people surveyed who’d taken part in the Great Resignation, I think it was 20% that regretted the fact they’d left. And about a third were already looking for another new role. But why is it that people were so dissatisfied or taken by surprise when they got into their new jobs? Well, some of it is probably poor due diligence on the employee's part. You know, I definitely think peer pressure kind of plays into this, because if you're seeing everybody around you leave, and they paint that as being a good thing, that can make you feel like you need to be exploring just like they are. And I kind of feel like it's presented as you kind of have this window of opportunity to either leave or stay, so you don't take the time you really should to think things through. And then on top of that, because the labor market is so tight and competitive, it's really easy to get lured in by these shiny perks packages that a lot of these companies are offering to attract employees. And so I think a lot of workers are seeing those flashy packages and they're not necessarily stopping to think about how the company can help them to grow in the long term.
So the first thing on the employee side is that, if you're considering leaving, you really want to go into the interview process asking questions about how the company can support you over the long haul and how they intend to develop you. You know, ask what they are doing to help workers understand that their company is a great place to work. And because hiring managers and the so-called employee liaisons that companies sometimes have to get you in the door, they really are wanting to portray the new business in a positive way, I think it's a really smart move if you go beyond those individuals and do some shadowing or interviews on your own, and definitely reading independent reviews of the company can be part of that.
Now on the employer side, in that BBC article, they indicated that 72% of the people surveyed regretted leaving their company because the job wasn't what they thought it was gonna be like. And I mean, I know we call it the Great Resignation, but that's more like the Great Big Bust. And these recruiters or hiring managers, maybe they're not even intentionally trying to mislead anybody, but they're just not doing a very good job of communicating what the expectations are, and so people kind of feel like they are in a bait and switch. Now, Psalm 34:13 says “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” So as workers transition into their companies, leaders really need to make sure that they are representing the positions accurately and truthfully and that they're not hiding anything. Because, you know, if you're a leader and you're in a competitive market, the way we are now, it's tempting to try to focus on hiring quickly. But remember, it costs money every time you want to recruit and hire somebody. So if people keep leaving and leaving because you're not representing what the company needs, that gets expensive real fast. That's the last thing you want to do in a tight market, is drain your budget like that. So don't worry so much about just getting somebody in the door. Instead, focus on the long game, the long-term value that the employee is going to bring to you, and really take the time to make sure that the person in front of you is the right fit. Because it's not about hiring fast. It's about hiring to develop a healthy efficient and productive culture.
So I am laying out these dynamics because I want you to understand that there are actually pretty good odds that you might leave a job only to wish that you could go back, and that the job and hiring situation can get a little complicated. So it's really important that you maintain the connections to your old managers, your colleagues, and that you look at the entire industry you're in, not just the single business that you're dealing with. You know, everybody connects, people do talk, and ideally, you want to create a situation where old and new companies actually even can support each other to make the industry better.
So my first recommendation is, I know that a lot of people might tell you to be really discrete, you know, don’t say anything until you have to when you wanna leave. But I personally think it’s much better to just be open, that you try to be really clear about why you're leaving. And I'm not talking here about airing dirty laundry or blaming anybody if there's a bad situation, although you do want to hold people accountable. I'm talking about presenting the opportunities that you feel are in front of you so that the old employer can have a better sense of what you needed to develop or what you hope to do. You know maybe they can't offer you $100,000 a year right now, but if another company can, you can explain to your old boss what that money is going to mean to you and what doors it's going to open for you. And that's kind of going to let the old employer look at how they could do right by other employees as the company does better later on. But do make sure your boss is the first one you tell you’re going to leave, because it really doesn’t look good if they have to hear it through the grapevine.
The second thing is, once you’re absolutely sure you’re not staying, give yourself as much time as you can and be concrete about when you’re going to exit. I know sometimes you might find an ideal job and there might not be a lot of time to transition, or sometimes things can be a little up in the air for different reasons. But if there's a way for you pinpoint a clear date and also wrap up loose ends, make sure you're getting paid to show your replacement how things work, that can go a long way to leaving your old business on stable footing. And it's going to help your manager still perceive you as a team player even as you're on your way out the door. And that's important because that last impression that they have of you is going to stick with them over time. That doesn't mean that you let things drag out for weeks or months. You know, at some point, you just have to go, and you don't want to be taken advantage of, but anything you can do to show some good faith to your old team will make a difference. And just try, you know again, there can be variables in play, but following the traditional two weeks notice is still classy.
The last big thing is to just express some gratitude as you leave. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” So
I don’t care how crappy the work situation might be. There has to be something that you learned, somebody who clued you in. You can always give thanks to God for those things. You can always say you are grateful for those experiences and skills and connect them to the next step you’re taking so that the exit seems truly logical. And you know, this ties back to that whole time and team player thing. If you’re grateful, you’re going to be respectful in the way you behave. You’re gonna tie up those loose ends and things to say thank you, and that’s gonna help people feel good if they can know they taught you something or made a difference for you.
So those are my key points. And as always, I’d like to send you on your way with a prayer. Would you just take a moment to talk to God with me?
Lord, one of the most wonderful things You can do for us is to guide us to new places that keep us becoming better. And I pray that when it is time to leave You will erase any doubt, that You will give us clarity so we’re not anxious as we go. And God, I pray that You will help our old colleagues and managers to remember us with compassion and that You’ll keep us connected even as we make new friendships. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
That’s all folks! Gosh, what was that, the old Warner Brothers cartoons where they used to end like that? I dunno. But next week, I’m going to kind of keep this transition thing going and talk about some signs that your company isn’t valuing you the way you should. What can you do if they just don’t see what you bring to the table? As I’m working on that, go to @FaithfulOTC on Twitter, give us a follow so I can connect with you one-on-one every day. Until next time everybody, be blessed.
Faithful on the Clock is a podcast meant to get your Christian faith and work aligned. You won’t find mantras or hacks here--just scripture-based insights to help you grow yourself, your company, and your relationship with God. If you want out of the worldly hamster wheel and want to work with purpose, then this is the show for you. Hosted by freelance business writer Wanda Thibodeaux.
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux is a freelance writer based in Eagan, MN. Since 2006, she has worked with a full range of clients to create website landing pages, product descriptions, articles, professional letters, and other content. She also served as a daily columnist at Inc.com for three years, where she specialized in content on business leadership, psychology, neuroscience, and behavior.
Currently, Thibodeaux accepts clients through her website, Takingdictation.com. She is especially interested in motivational psychology, self-development, and mental health.