Federal Careers

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You may have heard of the “great resignation;” the trend of employees quitting their jobs as the country moves through the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 (around 2.5% of the US labor force)! Monster has reported that 95% of employees are considering changing jobs.

The bulk of the resignations are among mid-career employees, and in the technology and health care industries. If you are thinking about joining the trend, here are some things to think about:

• Do you have enough money to keep you going for a while? If not, you may want to wait until you have adequate savings—finding another job or becoming an entrepreneur may take longer than you think.

• What is important to you in your next position? Are you looking for work-life balance? If so, what does that look like to you? Do you want work that is strictly remote? If so, how likely is that in your field? Are you looking to change fields? If so, what do you need to do so? Education? Skills? Something else?

• What might you give up by resigning? Benefits? Regular income? Stability? Identity? Make sure you understand the implications of you decision.

• Is it possible to make it work where I am? Have you explored your options to stay? What is your employer’s plan for return to the office? Are they open to some level of flexibility that you can live with? Have you asked?

• Are there personal adjustments you could make to create a more tolerable work situation? Perhaps change your hours? Ask for a hybrid work situation? Invest more time in your family / friends / hobbies?

• Are you being realistic about what’s available? How much it might pay? What it might require? The work environment is undergoing a systemic shift—it’s not really clear (in my view) what the future might look like. We’ve all heard the expression, “When you love what you’ll do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” There is no perfect job—anywhere, ever. Even working for yourself is far from perfect. Consider whether your expectations for your next employment opportunity—or entrepreneurial effort—are realistic.

• Is your resume ready to go? How about your LinkedIn? If not, get working on updating your documents. And reach out to your network.

Perhaps you have reached the point of no return. Or you have decided that you want to be part of the “great resignation.” Or maybe you have gotten another job (congratulations!) If any of the above are true (and of course there are other reasons too), you will need to resign from your current employer. And ideally you want to do so gracefully.

Here are some tips for how to (and how not to) resign:

• DO NOT forget to give notice. Two weeks is standard; depending upon your role in the organization, more time may be appropriate.

• DO NOT burn bridges. You may need a reference—or you may decide you want to return to the organization.

• DO NOT take the opportunity to share everything you think is wrong about the organization.

• DO NOT brag about your new opportunities.

• DO put your resignation in writing—and provide your contact information.

• DO understand your separation benefits; COBRA, whether you’ll be reimbursed for unused vacation pay, 401(k), etc.

• DO meet with your boss to tell her personally that you are leaving.

• DO thank your organization for the opportunity – and share something you learned or enjoyed about the job.

• DO offer to assist with the transition.

• DO return all property that belongs to your organization.

• DO be sure to delete any personal files from your work computer.

• DO say goodbye to your colleagues.

People will remember how you resign. Take the time to do it right!

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