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Island Style Careers - #iQuit How to leave a job the right way

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If most of us are honest, the jobs we currently hold are stepping stones to something else. We literally are in one job while constantly on the lookout for something better. Some of us hold out for decades between jobs, and others move around after short stints, never staying at any one company long enough to establish tenure.

According to a recent Business Insider article, there are several compelling reasons to quit:

  • You’re no longer learning;
  • The passion is gone;
  • Your skills aren’t being tapped;
  • You hate the work;
  • You don’t fit into your company’s culture;
  • You have a terrible boss;
  • Your company is on a downward spiral;
  • Your health is affected by stress and anxiety;
  • Your personal relationships are suffering because of your job;
  • The way up the ladder isn’t appealing;
  • Your duties have increased, but your pay hasn’t;
  • You wake up dreading the day; and
  • You yearn for something else.

Whichever of the above criteria applies to you, be sure to be 100% sure about your decision to leave before you announce it. The worst thing you can do is to start declaring your intentions to move on before you are sure you actually mean it. From personal experience I can tell you that sometimes dissatisfaction at work can be solved by volunteering to do new things - monotony kills. Take the time for careful introspection and be sure that the reason you want to move on isn't something that can be solved without severing ties.

When beginning your job search, be discreet. This can be near impossible in small islands like Antigua. A few years ago I found myself shortlisted for a job at ABC Ltd (name changed) from a resume I had uploaded on a regional job search site. I quickly realized that my present employer was closely affiliated with ABC Ltd, and even though I hadn't directly applied for a job there, the repercussions may not have been pleasant. I had to take myself out of consideration before it became awkward. Lesson learned.

Ready to quit? Here's how you should do it:

  1. Ask for a meeting with your boss. Thank him for the time and experience you gained at your job. If the company provided professional certification training etc, be sure that you are not quitting before the agreed period after completion. Thank him for the training also.
  2. Explain why you are leaving- you are interested in exploring new opportunities in other industries for instance.
  3. Wait for his response. He may accept reluctantly. If he is too enthusiastic perhaps you were not as stellar an employee as you imagined yourself to be. He may ask you what it will take for you to stay- and offer you a raise.
  4. No matter the amount, please refuse graciously. This will never end well should you take money as a reason to stay. Your professional integrity will be in question and your boss will feel as though he was strong armed into giving you a raise. Additionally, the job offer at ABC Company (which you would then have to turn down) will reflect badly on you since you will be seen as flaky and fickle - and motivated by money. This is why making sure you want to go is so important.
  5. Offer to help to find or train your replacement. If you have tenure at your job, replacing you will not be a simple process. No matter how heavily qualified your replacement will be, there will still be a learning curve. Being gracious and helpful to the replacement will help to enhance your soon- to - be former bosses' opinion of you. Remember, people remember the last interactions with you very well. No sense ruining your goodwill - even if you'd rather run screaming for the exit.

The sheer size of the Caribbean islands means that we will run into the same people at practically every event - professional and social. For us, keeping all our bridges in tact is very important- bad news spreads quickly. While you are navigating your rise in the professional sphere, always keep in mind the importance of conducting yourself ethically and with integrity. Employers sometimes feel heavily invested in their staff especially if they work in specialized fields or if they have spent on training and development. Everyone is replaceable, but it is gonna cost them - so most good business strive to retain all their staff. 

If you can master the art of quitting, you will always be able to return to any company in the future. Having proven yourself an asset as an employee- and a class act when leaving, most doors will remain open for you.



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