The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

February 02, 2012

The Golden Rule for Resigning

If you are employed, the urge to resign from your current job might occur for any number of reasons. You might be exhausted from unexpectedly having to work overtime or feel annoyed by your unreasonably long commute. Maybe your supervisor’s discouraging attitude has become intolerable or you’ve witnessed undeserving colleagues receive promotions while your career remains static. Perhaps the opportunity for growth does not exist in your position, the nature of the work no longer interests you or you feel that you are being significantly underpaid. Such grievances are among the many catalysts for wanting to quit your job, and they are all certainly valid. The mistake that many professionals make, however, is failing to obtain another job prior to resigning. Quitting your current job without the security of a new one will likely pose serious consequences to your professional, financial and personal well-being.

From a professional standpoint, resigning prematurely can have harmful effects. Once you quit, you can’t truly determine how long it will take for you to find new employment. Being out of the workforce for some unknown length of time is a major risk to your career development for three main reasons: First, the longer you are unemployed, the less valuable you become in the eyes of hiring managers. When you aren’t working, you lose – to an extent – professional assets such as industry knowledge and technical skills. Employers, therefore, prefer candidates who are gainfully employed. Secondly, when you are unemployed, you lose your power to negotiate compensation; since you are essentially earning $0, a prospective employer will not be inclined to make you the strongest offer. Thirdly, if you do find a job after a significant period of unemployment, there’s a strong possibility that you will have taken the job out of desperation, only to realize that the role is a poor fit. Putting yourself in that type of situation will probably lead you right back to where you began – yearning to resign.

Quitting your job too soon can also be detrimental financially. Again, the time it will take to secure a new position is uncertain, especially in this troubled economy, so – unless you have unlimited financial resources – you’ll be jeopardizing your financial security. Even if you have saved enough money to last several months, you can’t guarantee your funds will be sufficient when you lack a steady income. As a further financial consequence of quitting too hastily, you may be ineligible for unemployment benefits. Although dissatisfaction with your current salary may be your motivation for quitting, it’s much better to have an income than to have none at all.

Last, but not least, be mindful of the impact that an untimely resignation will have on you personally. Indefinite unemployment disrupts your daily routine and can leave you feeling unproductive and unstructured. While resigning prematurely may not bring about the sense of failure or embarrassment triggered by a termination, it can create tremendous frustration for you in the long run. Even if your current position is in some way psychologically straining, be aware that quitting without another job will intensify your distress.

Given the negative professional, financial and personal effects of leaving your job without a new one, you should adhere to the “golden rule” of resignation: You are much better off remaining in your current position than subjecting yourself to indefinite unemployment. If you are an Accounting, Finance, IT or Administrative professional who is currently employed and seeking a new position, you can contact an executive recruiter from Abacus Group to facilitate your search, or browse our listings of active opportunities.

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