February 8, 2018

Your Resignation: Beware the retaliatory strike

If your intention to make a job change is sincere, and nothing will change your decision to leave, you still need to keep up your guard. Why? Because unless you know how to diffuse your current employer’s retaliation, you may end up psychologically wounded, or right back at the job you wanted to leave.

Employers follow a predictable, three-stage pattern when faced with a resignation:

Tactic #1: Your boss will express his shock. ‘You sure picked a fine time to leave! Who’s going to finish the work we started?’ he might say.

The implication is that you’re irreplaceable. The company might as well ask, ‘How will we ever live without you?’ To answer this assertion, you can reply, ‘If I were run over by a truck on my way to work tomorrow, I feel that somehow, this company would survive.’

Tactic #2: Your boss will start to probe. ‘Who’s the new company? What sort of position did you accept? What are they paying you?’

Here you must be careful not to disclose too much information, or appear too enthusiastic. Otherwise, you run the risk of feeding your current employer with ammunition he can use against you later, such as, ‘I’ve heard some pretty terrible things about your new company’ or, ‘They’ll make everything look great until you actually get there. Then you’ll see what a sweat shop that place really is.’

Tactic #3: Your boss will make you an offer to try and keep you from leaving. ‘You know that raise you and I were talking about a few months back? Well, I forgot to tell you: We were just getting it processed yesterday.’

To this you can respond, ‘Today you seem pretty concerned about my happiness and well-being. Where were you yesterday, before I announced my intention to resign?’

It may take several days for the three stages to run their course, but sooner or later, you’ll find yourself engaged in conversations similar to the above. It can be difficult to diffuse a counteroffer attempt, especially when you have had a good working relationship with your boss, but in order to diffuse the emotional aspects of a counteroffer, you need to keep the practicalities at the forefront of your decision. Remind yourself what was motivating you to leave in the first place? What potential does your new job opportunity hold for you? What is your current employer really offering you?

 For additional information or advice please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 0207 118 3003