Tech & Work

I QUIT! How to be a professional when you leave a job

CCIE recruiter Eman Conde offers advice about the right way to quit a job and remain professional, even when all you want to say is, "Take this job and shove it!"

Johnny Paycheck had the right idea about leaving his job; he even had a few good reasons to be discontented when he sang; "Take this job and shove it!"

I've been workin' in this factory

From now on fifteen years

All this time I watched my woman

Drowning in a pool of tears

And I've seen a lot of good folk die

Who had a lot of bills to pay

I'd give the shirt right off of my back

If I had the nerve to say

When a CCIE (or any IT pro) finds it is time to make a career move, there is a lot to consider. The reasons for leaving are not normally based upon compensation. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of motivation to earn more, but how a CCIE earns it is as important as what they earn. I hear a lot of CCIEs mention technology challenges and greater access to advancement in an organization with or without management responsibility. A few have even mentioned that moving up in their current company was tied to management responsibilities that they did not want to bear. Believe it; many geeks really don't want to manage staff. Mentoring is attractive, but the responsibility for annual reviews, budgets, morale, etc. ... well, it just takes all of the fun out of pushing bits and bytes around.

Most CCIEs are too professional to air dirty laundry when I am chatting with them. Sometimes it takes following up after a CCIE lands in a new role to get them to talk and tell me why they left a previous role — that their management was like Johnny's in this song. I advise anyone interviewing or chatting with a recruiter to refrain from getting too negative about their current employer and most IT professionals understand this point. If you are too harsh about a current employer, this is a red flag for me and gives me a reason to be more thorough when doing reference checks.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

My woman done left and took all the reasons

I was working for

You better not try to stand in my way

As I'm a walking out the door.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

Happy or mad, you really do owe your employer notice of your intention to leave for a new position. Try and remain within the contractual obligations unless some egregious or illegal activity has occurred.

Back in the 70s, I once started a new job before resigning from my old one. Boy did that move tick off my old boss!

In the U.S. and Canada, a two week notice is the standard; in the UK or Middle East, ninety days is common. Often a CCIE's responsibilities for a project or critical deliverable may necessitate a longer notice, and when they have the courtesy to note this in their resignation, it is usually appreciated. If your next employer is pushing too hard to get the CCIE to pull the plug, then this warrants some concern. Don't allow anyone to make you burn bridges. We are in a small community in IT, even smaller for CCIEs. Remember that you will cross paths again, so be polite and do the right thing. How do you quit and what do you say?

Well that foreman, he's a regular dog

The line boss, he's a fool

Got a brand new flat-top haircut

Lord, he thinks he's cool

One of these days, I'm gonna blow my top

And that sucker, he's gonna pay

Lord I can't wait to see their faces

When I get up the nerve to say

Never allow yourself to quit in anger or be visibly frustrated; instead, collect your thoughts. Simple resignations should make a statement of appreciation for the responsibilities the CCIE was given, that they have arrived at a decision to make a career move, and the date intended for separation. That word is ugly, SEPARATION - it sounds like a divorce. Some resignations are drawn out into a prolonged passion play that leaves frustration in its wake. Make sure to remain in control of the exit and prevent personal feelings from entering into the ordeal. Yes, I have seen tears, shouting matches, and in one memorable instance, tire slashing in a parking lot. Quitting is hard, especially if the CCIE has been working with the same team for years. Feelings that they are letting the team down by leaving are real.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

My woman done left and took all the reasons

I was working for

You better not try to stand in my way

As I'm a walking out the door.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

The short and sweet approach

Tom,

I appreciate the opportunity you have given me over the past few years. I have made a decision to move on and would like to ensure we have an orderly transition of my responsibilities. It is my intention to resign my position effective January 23rd, 2012.

Make sure to deliver your resignation in person and face your boss in a private area. Ask them to give you some time on their schedule to discuss a personal matter. Most managers will be pretty busy and will have to add you to their calendar if they think the discussion is a business matter. So let them know it is important and of a personal nature. Don't dwell on negative discussions and practice what you are going to say to avoid blurting out anything you might regret later. Hand them your letter of resignation and give them a moment to take it in. Let them know it was not an easy decision to arrive at and offer to assist in your transition.

Leave on a good note, and never say, "Take this job and shove it!"

About

Emmanuel Conde has the distinction of being the only CCIE recruiter promoted by World Wide Channels of Cisco Systems.

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