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Mishandled resignations

I told my boss, the chief executive officer (CEO) that a major competitor is pirating me with a lucrative offer. He asked me, “Are you expecting a counteroffer?” I was shocked. I told him that I’m resigning with 30 days’ notice. To which the CEO replied: “The sooner, the better.” I left the room sadly. Please help me understand and manage my situation. — Lone Wolf.

Once upon a time, a young man consulted the Socrates to learn from the great philosopher. The moment he arrived, the young man began to speak, until interrupted by Socrates: “Young man, I regret I will have to charge you double fee for that.”

“Why is that?” the young man replied.

Socrates replied: “I will be teaching you two skills. First, how to hold your tongue. Second, how to use it at an appropriate time.”

I’m not sure about your motivation for disclosing that you’re being pirated by a competitor. It’s not advisable to tell your boss about a prospective employer. If you want to resign, then resign without making it appear that you wanted to negotiate a package. Therefore, the CEO was right in humiliating you.

Most CEOs would not be baited into making a counteroffer for many reasons. They’re too smart for that. If they do, you’ll feel indispensable, thereby setting a bad precedent that others could emulate.

If you’ve already made up your mind about your resignation, do it without hesitating. Be firm. But hold your tongue until you’ve filed a resignation letter. No amount of verbal preliminary notification will sway your boss into making a counter-offer, unless management is incompetent enough to neglect putting together a succession plan.

THE CUREFile your resignation right away. There’s no turning back. Retreating is the worst thing you can do. The CEO has already spoken: “The sooner, the better.” He’s telling you the company is ready to work without you. He may have somebody in mind as a temporary or permanent replacement which may come from within.

Therefore, you have no recourse but to file a professionally-written letter that includes the following elements:

One, give 30-day advance notice as required by law. This is to allow your employer to make preparations for a smooth turnover. This may be waived by management to protect the organization’s interests. One scenario that calls for immediate effectivity of resignations is to prevent a resigned person from accessing confidential files and other sensitive records.

Even if the CEO has allowed you to resign “the sooner, the better,” you must protect yourself against claims for damages resulting from lack of a formal, advance notice. Put the specific date of your last working day and be open to exhausting your remaining leave credits, subject to management approval.

Two, offer assistance towards ensuring a smooth turnover. Commit to train your replacement even if your boss may not be receptive. Even if your boss rejects your offer, ensure that you will be available physically according to a mutually-agreed schedule. Or else, leave your e-mail address for any questions that may arise.

Make a complete list of all documents and equipment and turn them all to your department second-in-command. Require that person to acknowledge receipt.

Three, request clearance and an employment certificate. Be specific about these requests in your letter. Also, ask the human resource (HR) department to return your basic documents, which may include the original copy of your transcript or anything that you may have been required to submit previously.

If this creates some difficulties with HR, then forget about it. At least you tried.

Four, ask the CEO’s secretary to sign upon receipt of your letter. This is your best proof that you’ve resigned in accordance with the dictates of the law. It’s not important that a resignation is approved by a boss even under normal circumstances. What’s important is that there is a formal document to prove that you’re no longer interested in continuing with your employment.

There’s also a chance the CEO’s secretary may ask to consult the boss. If the secretary refuses to sign, move on to the HR department head or a representative to sign your copy.

Last, express sincere gratitude to top management. Even under the most difficult circumstances, don’t forget to thank management for giving you the chance to work and be trained in that organization. Expressing gratitude is the professional move. You should be grateful even if you botched your initial attempt to resign.

Professionalism gives you a long-lasting sense of satisfaction that you’ve done the right thing with the people you met on your way up or down.

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