Friday, December 14, 2007

Resigning well

These days the topic in family discussions is my sister's resignation from her high profile bank job. My sister told us that she's tired, she's been working since she graduated from college, and she just wants to not work and rest.

Throughout her stellar career, she only changed companies once. And she rose up the ranks from loan clerk to vice president.

Now at 51, she wants to say bye to all the stress and the meetings and the quotas.

My parents can't believe she really wants to do this. She has been working all her life. It is simply unfathomable to picture her lounging around at home for days on end or checking out the malls during weekdays when she could have been calling the shots in her office in Makati.

"Let her resign," I said. "She's burning out." I also told my mom that it's really that way: If you're sick and tired of your job, it's time to move on. Take it from me, whose resume is peppered with short stints here and there. I've been known to resign from jobs that don't fulfill me even if I don't have a new job to take on. Yes, I've had months of not working, of lounging around at home watching reruns on TV, of checking out the malls even during weekdays just because I wanted to be busy.

But you see, I know how it is to be in a job that seems more like a chore. Since I had an accounting background and even passed the CPA board exams, I scouted around for accounting and auditing jobs right after the Board exams. I worked for about three months for an auditing firm, tracing clients' transactions via official receipts, vouchers and all. Then I worked for a small bank recording expense entries. I think I lasted two months. Next I labored as junior auditor in a multinational company, and I lasted for a year. But toward the end of that year, I knew this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Working then became a chore. Five o' clock meant freedom. I was just chugging along.

From then on, I've pursued what I wanted: writing. But even then I jumped from one job to another, writing for a PR agency, writing for a magazine, writing for a newspaper.

I've worked full time, part time, and at home on a consultancy basis. I have resigned from jobs and taken on new ones.

When I would come to a decision to resign, it was for different reasons: the job is not fulfilling anymore, I needed a pay raise, I had to spend time with the family, I had to go abroad.

Early on in my career, I botched up the resigning process. Blame it on youth, I guess. There was a time I just walked out. As in. There was another time I just called my boss and sent my resignation letter over. But as I became more mature, I realized if I were to resign, I had to think it over 1,000 times, and if I still want to resign, I had to do it well.

So, here's what I learned about resigning -- when to know it's time to move on, and how to break the news gently.

1. Think and pray about it. If you're not really at peace staying on in the job anymore, why last another year at it?
2. Ask advice from wise people. They will see your situation from afar and give you an objective assessment of what's going on.
3. Find out if you just need to take a break. Take a one- or two-week vacation. If you come back refreshed and ready to work again, then it's not yet time to leave the company.
4. Ask yourself if you're still an asset to the company. If all you care about is punching in on time and punching out as soon as the workday ends, you may be doing the company a disservice.
5. If you wake up in the morning and dread going to work for the nth time, let go.
6. After you've decided to resign, observe company rules and give your boss the required notice.
7. Talk to your boss. Sit down with him/her and explain why and how you came to this decision.
8. Help find a replacement. It's hard to look for someone who will be qualified to take on your job.
9. Do a proper turnover. Once your replacement is there, train him/her and do a proper turnover.
10. Speak well of your company even after you have left your job.

God has given each one of us gifts and talents which we are to use to help other people and to glorify Him. Find a job where you can honor God and work meaningfully.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Peacemaker by Ken Sande discusses the way people respond to conflict. We either escape or attack. A biblical and better way is to make peace, which includes overlooking faults, reconciling, negotiating, and if need be, seeking mediation, arbitration and accountability. This is a great book.