How to jump ship so that it doesn’t come back to bite you

The New Year is usually a time for reflection when many people consider making career moves. Finding a new position is the exciting part, but then there’s the unenviable task of resigning.

If your reasons for leaving have less to do with the new opportunity and more to do with getting out of your current position then you’re going to have to exercise some restraint. As much as you’d like to mouth off exactly what you think of the company, your manager or team, that’s the worst possible thing you can do for your career  – because reputations matter.

Badmouthing an employer or colleague, even if it reflects your true feelings, will affect your reputation as much as theirs. That doesn’t mean you should lie and pretend that everything is just peachy, but there are ways to give constructive feedback tactfully, and maintain your reputation in the process.

Here are some tips for getting this right:

  • Be clear on why you’re resigning

Yes many companies may make a counteroffer to get staff to stay, but resigning to get more money is not a god strategy. For a start companies don’t like being manipulated, and secondly, the things that bother you about your current situation won’t magically disappear because you’re earning more. Most employees that accept a counter offer end up leaving within a few months anyway.  Carefully consider which issues you wish to bring up.

  • How to negotiate your notice period

From an employer perspective while there may need to be a handover they may also be concerned about you having access to information, especially if you’re moving to a competitor. If there are projects to be completed focus on these and negotiate accordingly. This will reflect you know your responsibilities and are willing to deliver on them.

  • Managing morale

If you manage a team, your resignation could make them uncertain of their own future. This is something you want to avoid. Be clear on how the news of your resignation will be communicated, when and by whom. If your team finds out via the grapevine it could damage morale.

Remember that the construction industry is fairly tight knit and chances are you will encounter ex colleagues and bosses again in the future. You don’t want to be burning bridges you may need again no matter how disgruntled you feel when you resign.