Resignation Guilt (and the 6 Steps to Ease it)
Let’s set the scene.
It’s the New Year. You decided that you wanted a new challenge for the year to come so you made the decision to leave your current job. Maybe it was the culture, or lack of development opportunities or it just wasn’t taking your career where you’d hoped.
So, you hit the job market. You searched and finally found and were offered the perfect next step for your career. You’re on cloud 9 and ecstatic about where this job might take you.
The point of resignation arrives. Your bubble of joy bursts spectacularly to be replaced by one of the most natural human emotions.
There is obviously nothing wrong with feeling guilty about leaving your job. In fact, it’s a good sign that you value the company you work for and people you work with. Most people don’t want to leave their colleagues in the lurch – particularly if they and your company have been good to you.
But, provided you have created an exit plan and a process to manage your removal from the team dynamic well, there are few reasons why you should feel guilty.
So how do you lessen those guilty feelings?
1. Have a Plan
If you have the foresight to develop a plan that spans both your notice period and the immediate weeks / months following your departure, you will take a lot of the stress out of the situation for both yourself and your team.
Sit down and determine what you will complete before you leave and what will need to be completed immediately after and present it as a working document to your manager alongside your resignation letter. Knowing you are prepared and have tried to help your team with the near future will help you feel less guilt.
2. It’s not a Breakup, it’s Business
Leaving a job can definitely feel like you’re breaking up with a partner. You’ve spent a lot of time and invested a lot of energy with these people, so leaving is naturally going to be hard.
Keep in mind that it is business and business is not usually a good place to make emotional decisions. If you can keep your reasons for leaving and the actual process of leaving logical and factual, you will massively lessen any guilty feelings you might have.
3. Develop & Growth is Important
Just as companies are always looking to push their growth forward, so too is it a natural response for individuals. Humans are expected to push their boundaries and explore new options if they feel they are flatlining.
Before you resign, explore whether your current company can help you grow, if it can’t then you shouldn’t feel any guilt about resigning.
4. You’re not Irreplaceable…
Being replaceable sounds incredibly blunt, but the truth is that for most jobs, there are multiple people that can perform them effectively. Yes, your company might have a lag time whilst they go through the process of finding new staff, but they will find someone.
This isn’t to say that your company doesn’t value you, they very likely do, but the commercial reality of needing to maintain productivity means they will find someone else to do your job.
5. Turn the Tables
There are few employers who wouldn’t feel guilty on a personal level about having to lay off staff if they were facing budget cuts or possible closure. The reality on a business level however, is that they would still do it and with clinical efficiency. They would understand that business is business and that these choices need to be made for the benefit of the company.
Apply this same logic to your decision to leave.
6. Focus on Your Next Step
Guilt isn’t a particularly productive emotion so the best thing you can do is not focus on it. Instead, focus on your next step and the excitement you feel about what is to come. Think about what you plan to create and the fulfilment you expect to feel from it.
When you are thinking about positive things to happen in your life that are right for you, the guilt won’t get a look in.
Looking to resign? Or need advice about whether you should?
Get in touch via the form below and we can send you our free Resignation Letter template or put you in touch with one of our consultants to discuss your situation.