Episode #47 – The Right Way to Quit Your Job and Start a New Job

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the right way to quit your job and start a new job. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: Stacy, you’ve worked with thousands of professionals in the Animal Health Industry and the Veterinary Profession with job searches and have helped numerous Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals with their careers. So you know the right way and the wrong way to do things, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, after more than 20 years, I’ve seen quite a bit and helped many people. Not only that, but I also can’t stress enough that it’s important to do things the right way at both ends of the spectrum—when you quit a job and when you start a new job.

Sharita: Let’s start with what comes first in the process, when a person quits their job. What’s the right way to do that?

Stacy: First and foremost, I’ve long been an advocate of not “burning bridges” when it comes to your career. The Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession are relatively small. Company officials talk with one another and compare notes all the time. The last thing you want is to have a “black mark” following you around during your career.

So there are four main steps involved in leaving your job in the correct way. The first step is to write an official resignation letter. Don’t just tell your boss that you’re leaving. You need to put it on paper, and there are a lot of templates available that you can use as a guide. From a professional standpoint, establishing a paper trail is crucial.

The second step is to give a full two weeks’ notice. Of course, you should reference the two weeks in your official resignation letter. As many of our listeners know, your employer might not choose to have you work out the full two weeks. That depends on the circumstances of the situation.

The third step is to thank your boss for the opportunities that you had while employed at the organization.

Sharita: Isn’t it true that a lot of people leave their organization because of their boss?

Stacy: Yes, that’s true. But once again, it’s important to not “burn bridges.” You want to leave things on a positive note, if you can. Look at this more as an investment in your future, more than anything else.

Sharita: What’s the fourth step?

Stacy: The fourth step is to complete all of your work before you leave.

Sharita: Is that possible?

Stacy: In some cases, yes. It might seem like it wouldn’t be, but if you want to leave on a truly positive note, you should come to an agreement about the work that you’ll complete before you leave. That way, there will be a smoother transition and your boss and the management will feel better about your departure.

The bottom line is that you want to keep your reputation as spotless as you can. Don’t make the exist messy or tarnish your reputation. Make a smooth transition. Sometimes, though, the employer doesn’t make that easy.

Sharita: What do you mean?

Stacy: Sometimes when a professional resigns, their employer does some unexpected things.

Sharita: What are some of those things?

Stacy: First of all, the employer might send you home. Even if they pay you for the two weeks, they could still send you home. They might even have a security guard escort you to the door. Hopefully, that’s not the case, but it does happen.

Second, your employer or your boss might try to make you feel guilty. But no matter how important you might have been at the company, it’s not going to collapse just because you’re leaving.

Third, your boss might try to pry information out of you about where you’re going. They might seem friendly while they do it, but it won’t do you any good to talk about your future employment situation. That could just make things more messy, and messy is exactly what you want to avoid.

Sharita: What about a counter-offer? We’ve talked in previous podcasts about counter-offers and the way people should handle them. I imagine that making a counter-offer is another thing that an employer might do in this situation.

Stacy: Yes, that’s absolutely right. That’s why somebody who has submitted their resignation should be prepared for it. Yes, it might be the prospect of extra money or compensation, but why wasn’t this money or compensation offered to you before?

Sharita: Now that we’ve covered the one end of the spectrum, which is quitting your job, let’s move on to the other end, which is starting a new job. What are the best practices for doing that?

Stacy: First, try to do some work before you officially start. Remember, you have two weeks before you leave one job and start the next. That means there’s plenty of time to get some things done. You can follow social media accounts of the key executives within the organization, research the company, and learn what you can about the products and services that it offers.

The second thing that you should do is talk with your future boss. This is especially helpful in light of the first tip that we just discussed. Your future boss may be able to tell you what kind of work you’ll be doing and even give you some information or homework prior to your first day of employment.

Remember, you were hired because the organization believes that you will bring value to the company. The reason that they’re hiring in the first place is because they have a problem or some pain that they need to alleviate. You can start working on helping to alleviate that pain before you even start working.

Sharita: What else should a person do when they start a new job?

Stacy: Well, this many seem simple, but they must ask questions. You have to gather as much information as possible. Once again, this one is related to the first two items we discussed. You should talk with your future boss, you should ask questions, and find out the information you need so that you can get started doing work and solving problems before you officially begin work.

This all leads to our fourth and final tip, which is to build relationships. I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before: “It’s not what you know, but WHO you know.” Well, the truth be told: it’s both what you know and who you know.

You don’t have to wait to start building relationships with other people, especially if those people are going to be your co-workers and colleagues. The goal is to gain their camaraderie and cooperation. When you’re able to do that, it will help to contribute to your success as a new employee.

Sharita: It seems as though there’s a lot that goes into changing jobs and if something goes wrong along the way, then it can be damaging for a person’s career.

Stacy: Yes, that’s absolutely the case. That’s one of the reasons that changing jobs can be a very stressful time in a person’s life. One of the reasons that it can be stressful is that people don’t do enough planning in advance.

Sharita: But isn’t there a lot going on during that time?

Stacy: That’s true, there is. But you can’t use that as excuse not to do what is necessary. That’s why you should make an investment of time and energy into the process. And that process starts the moment you submit your letter of resignation. That sets off a chain reaction of events that will eventually bring you to your new job and the next step in your career.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!