Hey there, Rebels. Welcome back to the podcast. Today I want to talk about your resignation game plan. But before I get into it, one of the things that is really clear for me, and it's become incredibly clearer the more I do this work, is that this career game, whether it's career development, leadership development, whether you're pivoting, transitioning, promoting, or starting something new, in order for you to really be successful, you have got to master the inner and outer game. And that is the fundamental work and the strategy that I use with my clients in the Career Rebel Academy and in my coaching.
You have to understand that yes, there are strategies and tips and things that you can do and that you absolutely need to do in order to land that promotion or to switch or do something different. But if you're not mastering your mindset, which is the inner game aspect, if you're not asking yourself the deeper questions, if you're not examining your thoughts, your behaviors, your feelings, your actions in order to understand how to do things better and how to use those strategies and tools in the best possible way to allow you to achieve success, then it's not going to happen. You're not going to make it.
I don't know how many times I've had conversations with people who have said that they've worked with other coaches, they've read books, that they've taken programs, that they have talked to people, that they've gone to events and have the conversation. They are overloaded with information and materials, yet they're in the same space, in the same spot that they were when they started and invest it all... Well, I should say waste it, all of that time, energy, and money. And I always say it's because they have not implemented the inner game strategy. So many people focus on the tactics that they don't realize if you don't have the right mindset around it, you're not going to implement anything. So it doesn't matter unless you understand your thoughts and understand your belief systems and understand the narratives that are playing in the back of your brain that are keeping you from taking action.
I've talked about it before, and I'm going to mention it again about the motivational triad it that our brains are designed to keep us put, to keep us safe, to avoid pain and to only seek pleasure. And so whenever we go after things that are uncomfortable, new or different, fear is going to kick in and it can stop us dead in our tracks unless we understand where it's coming from and how to deal with it. That's the inner game strategy in order to execute the outer game strategies to the most efficient and effective way and possible, so that they help you in the best possible way.
So let's talk about your resignation game plan. I want to talk about it from two perspectives. First is before you decide to resign, we're going to talk a little inner game strategy. And then we're going to talk about what to do, some outer game strategy before you decide to resign, and then what to do once you actually submit that resignation letter.
So if you're one of the 85% of the people in the world who dreads Monday morning, you probably are right in the right place listening to this. Everyone at one time or another has been unhappy in their position in what they're doing. There is no perfect job, there's no perfect career. It's just doing the work that you love and the best possible way that you can. But if you've gone through life really, really struggling with what you're doing, it may be time to think about making a move or a change. It's very different than having a periodic bad day.
One of the driving forces behind my becoming an employment attorney almost 30 years ago was actually a horrible job. Well, actually, it was more of a horrible boss, but it motivated me to get into a career where I could protect the rights of others similarly situated. And over time, I learned that my real work really wasn't to protect the rights of those in their job, particularly those who despise their jobs, but to help them find the work that was more in tune and aligned to who they were and who they wanted to be in the world.
And if your current job is not your dream job, and let me just say also there's no such thing as the perfect job, but if you're not doing the work that's really a line that you love, it's important to get some support discovering what that is.
Now, I know you still have to pay your mortgage and maybe a college tuition or two in the interim, but it's important before you decide to walk away from something that you have a game plan so you know exactly what you're doing and you're moving with intention, and you're not moving frantically or unprepared. As I always say, You want to step into what's next. You don't want to run away from what was because you want to understand what you're doing so that you're making the best possible decisions for your life, for yourself and for your family.
So as your career takes up such a significant part of your life, if it's not satisfying, then it could harm every aspect of your life, not only your own health, but it definitely plays a role in every aspect of your life. And life's too short for it to be miserable. As I always say, your career is only a piece of the greater ecosystem of your life, but if it's unbalanced and it's not something you love, it will impact the other components. So you want to make sure you're taking some time to do it.
But before you make a move, I want to ask you, is it really time? Sometimes your unhappiness with your job isn't about the job itself, but it could be you. Now, I'm not counting when there is discrimination or if you're being undervalued or underappreciated or the work culture or things of that nature. I'm talking when everything is equal, sometimes it's a little bit of you as well. And until you figure out if it's the job really, if it's the employer and the culture, you want to know before you leave which one is it. "Is it me or is it where I'm at?" Right? Because if you move to someplace else, and it really is you, you're going to take that with you and find yourself just as miserable and upset in the new position as you were in the current position, right?
Listen, you have to train people, and that includes employers how to treat you. So if you haven't told your boss that you want support or that you want to go after promotional opportunities, or if you don't speak up or stand out in meetings and you are not stepping into new opportunities and you're not networking internally or externally, and if you don't have a clear vision of what you want where you're going and the value of what you have to offer, then it may be you.
If you haven't done those things and you're not looking at this work as something that allows you to fulfill and utilize your greatest gifts and is leading you onto the vision that you have for the future, then it really may be you. You may be the reason that things haven't worked out the way that you wanted them to, and you want to know that before you make a move. So you want to think about that. If you're considering leaving, just do a little deeper a dive into, "Have I really put myself fully out there? Have I been in the driver's seat of my career? Have I sat back and waited for my employer to make the first move? Have I not engaged in self-promotion and letting people know of all the things that I do amazingly? Or have I sat back hoping that people will just notice me coming in early, staying late, working on weekends and all this other stuff when I'm not really explaining what I'm doing and how is contributing because I'm over working or overcommitting?"
Oftentimes, we do so much to try to prove that we belong that we're really not making an impact and an effect, and then we get burnt out and we wonder what happened and how can the employer let that happen to us when we never had to do that to begin with. We could have been working so much more smarter, been much more aligned with the organization and our manager to let them know what we wanted, what we were doing, and exactly what we wanted to achieve while we were there. And having them partner with you to support is such a different mindset when you're doing it, when you're working in a way that's leading you somewhere as opposed to you thinking you're doing all the right things, which you haven't checked in to make sure that those are the things that really matter.
So the first thing you want to do as a precursor to getting out and resigning is to check your perspective, right? I know it sounds simple, but if you're focused on how you're underappreciated and overworked and how you don't like your position, you're going to be trapped in that way of thinking for a long time, particularly if you're not examining your role in that process.
So think about what have you learned, what can you do, what approaches or opportunities can you take advantage of that maybe you've never thought about before. And it could actually shift your perspective of your job. So remember the inner game work. Start there. Start there with the clarity of knowing exactly what didn't work, what your role of that was, what do you want to change, and improve upon before you decide to take all of that to a different employer.
So that's the first thing that you want to do. After that, it really kind of becomes a little bit more of the semantics. So if you're looking for something different, you want to think about the financial considerations. This is something that most people don't think about. Now, I never advise people just to kind of leave their employment particularly if they're deciding that they want to start maybe a side hustle or start something new or go someplace else unless they really have thought through their game plan, their financial game plan.
I believe in the career lattice and not necessarily the career ladder. So sometimes the next opportunity you need to step into may not pay you what you were making previously, and that's okay. I did that in my own career. When I left the law to do a different level of work, to do organizational consulting, I took a pay cut, but I took a pay cut because I know that work would position me to make a lot more than what I would be making in the future, but I wanted to have more work and exposure and opportunity in a role before I took that to a different level.
And that's totally okay to do. But if you're going to do that, if you're thinking about you have that vision for your future, you want to make sure that your financials are in order, right? You need to save a little. Do you want to drop a little bit more into that 401(k)? Do you want to pad your savings? Do you want to pay some things off? Do you want to create a budget so that if you do decide to step into something that is a part of your long term vision for your life and your career, that you can do that easily without a lot of stress or challenge? So that's the other thing you want to do, is really think about your financials.
The other thing is that you want to consider your timeline. Timing is always a big part of this. If you're just in the consideration phase, this is a great time to just explore what it is that you want to do. Hopefully you never get to a place where you're like, "I'm out. I can't stand it" because you want to give yourself room and breathing room to be able to really ask yourself these deeper questions about what you really want to do and how it aligns to the lifestyle or the vision that you have for where you are in your life.
Things are different when you have kids at home versus when you're empty nester, or when all of a sudden you need to start taking care of your parents, or depending on what your mortgage situation is. Or there's a lot of factors that can go into what you want to do and how you want to do it at this time in your life. So you want to think about that. Timing is always important, right? Become a master of your calendar as well. Start to set aside time to do this work, to think about the path that you want to take, right? Stop overworking and overcommitting and start thinking about what you can work on and commit to yourself in order to figure out what it is that you really want to do. Whether it's to start a new business, whether it's to step up into something different, whether it's to change positions in the same organization, give yourself the gift of time to consider what's actually best for you.
And then definitely consult with all of the company policies about the resignation process, right? Refresh your knowledge of what it takes to resign. What do you have to do? Are there requirements when you notify people and who you notify and think about what happens that you can take or leave with when you leave the organization, right? So the other thing too as you're looking at the policies is to think about the employee manual and the compensation issues.
Now, I'm going to drop a link in the show notes to a career segment episode I did in a local morning show that talked about how to negotiate your exit because you absolutely should always be negotiating. I'll drop another link to the podcasts episode I talked about to negotiate always. So coming in, you want to be sure you're negotiating your salary. But as you leave, you also want to think about what you want to negotiate for your exit. The last position that I had, I negotiated my exit. I was able to leave with an extended time for a bonus for leaving, and I also received my laptop. I received some additional items that I wanted to take with me, and I had a longer severance, not bonus. It was the severance that I was able to negotiate for me leaving.
So you absolutely can negotiate all of those things, the insurance, your COBRA, how long you have your COBRA, what your COBRA's going to extend and cover. So unless you're in a government or contracted position, you absolutely have the opportunity to negotiate your exit, right? So think about that. Just don't leave until you get the maximum value of your time there before you decide to leave.
You want to make sure that you complete all your assignments. Listen, you want to leave with grace and dignity because you don't want to burn bridges. That's the important thing. So if you have assignments that need to be fulfilled, or if you want to talk to your supervisor or manager about how to stay on board long enough to help them hire and train the new person that's coming on that may replace you, or if they're things that you want to just carry onto to fruition so that you can add those to your resume and to your wheelhouse of knowledge, don't get cut out and cut off on working on projects that may actually prove to be important to you into the next leg of your journey.
So talk about what that looks like in terms of projects that you're working on or things that you want to get done and fulfilled. This is again, where timing plays a factor, right? I'll also, in the show notes, drop a link to a sample resignation letter so that you can have something to work on if you're thinking about that this is the time to walk away, so you can do it with grace and dignity.
Okay. So all of that is pre-work that you want to do before you resign as part of your resignation game plan. So the next part is how do you actually resign? So you want to definitely consider how you want to have that conversation and that meeting with your manager, right? How you want to sit down with them and talk to them about it. I often tell my clients to think of the process as a breakup, right? But a good breakup, not a bad breakup. So you explain how you, what you need and why it's you and why you just felt like this is you've gone as far as you can and you're really looking for other opportunities that'll really help you to step into the next level of your career.
You don't necessarily have to make it about the employer. You can actually bring that up in the exit interview. You want to prepare for the exit interview if you don't really want to share that with your manager. And if it was nothing, as I said, it wasn't a bad breakup, it was a good breakup. In fact, in my last position, I remember telling my boss, the dean, that it was me, not him, and that's why I was leaving. Literally, like it was a breakup, right? So be able to have a conversation with the people that you need to talk to so that you can diffuse any anxiety and make sure you're leaving with a cordial relationship.
The other thing is that you want to get references. You may want to do this before you actually put in your resignation around the time, but have conversations with people around the organization, stakeholders or others that you've worked with, and use this as an opportunity to get recommendations. Have people write letters of how it was to work with you, what they appreciated about working with you, any endorsements that they have for your time together. Ask your manager. Ask some coworkers. Ask people above your manager if you've done some work with them.
This is a great time for you to get those references. You can ask people to write something on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great because it gives you an opportunity to review what they've written before you accept it, or you can ask them to send you an email and draft something. So get your portfolio together that shows the great work that you've done, the results that you brought while you were there, and the impact you made while you were part of that organization, right?
You can also, as I said, help them find the successor. You can offer them suggestions on who to hire if it was a great breakup and it was a good position, right? So you can help them in that process as well. And you also want to prepare yourself for the exit interview, right? You want to be prepared to talk about the things. This is where you can be really open and honest about what was going on, but you could still do it in a way that has you leaving the organization feeling good and whole about your next journey and your next step.
And even though you're about to resign, stay a part of the team. Keep a positive attitude. Speak about what the success was that you had while you were there. Help other team members. You don't have to check out or "quiet quit" even though you're actually going to quit, but make sure you're leaving on a good note in such a way that you may even get offered to stay. There have been several times that through this process, some of my clients have been offered retention bonuses or asked if they could stay or if there's other positions that they can put them in, or if there's any way that they would be willing to stay in the organization just because of the way that they went through this process of deciding that they wanted to move on.
Now, I'm a big fan that if you decide you want to leave, that you should leave. It's a challenging thing when you're getting ready to leave and all of a sudden the company is offering you so much to stay, because if you decide to stay, unless you're getting all of that in writing and unless you really think it's a good opportunity, it often doesn't work out. Again, think about a relationship where you were about to break up with your partner and they convince you to stay, but as it turns out, it may not have quite been the best decision for you. That for some reason all the promises that were made never quite get fulfilled, and it leaves a bad taste in both of your mouths.
So if you are going to leave, make sure you know for sure that no matter what, you are going to leave. Don't do it in an attempt to try to negotiate for something more. I never think that's a good idea. It can work out, absolutely. I just don't like it. I don't like playing games and I don't like to encourage my clients to play those kind of games. If you want to leave, leave.
Now, if you're negotiating at a different company for another position, how you negotiate with the other employer and maybe them not knowing whether or not you're going to leave or stay, that's a whole different conversation. And that's about salary negotiating. That's not about how you want to leave your current employer.
So there you have it, how to build a powerful resignation game plan so that you walk away from where you are with dignity, integrity, feeling great about it, feeling clean about it, and ready to step into something new as opposed to running away from where you are. I hope that was helpful for you.
If you have any questions or you're in the midst of trying to put your resignation game plan together, I invite you to click the link in the show notes and schedule a 30 minute professional strategy session with me, and let's talk about where you are and how to make sure that you are stepping out of where you currently are into something that really matters to you. Until next time, have an amazingly rebellious week. Thanks for joining me. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.