So you’ve won a great new marketing job at an amazing business. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to break the news to your current place of employment. This is a process that seems simple, but we see as a marketing search firm that it is often far more complicated than originally anticipated.
Though it’s a normal part of life, leaving a job can often be a surprisingly sensitive subject. What you consider to be a “just business” career matter could be taken more personally than you realize. Too often we see a huge, positive moment in candidates’ careers spoiled by events that happen as they’re taking that next step.
You always want to leave your current organization in the best position possible when making a career move. But you also need to maintain your sanity and step into your new role with a lot of momentum. So it’s important to give your resignation notice the right way–and make the most of the next two weeks.
Considerations for Marketers
Keeping your social and professional bridges intact is beneficial for many reasons:
- Your reputation gets around–and it matters. Let’s be real: marketing folks love to talk. About trends, clients, news–and oftentimes, about each other. Your behavior, good or bad, in leaving a job can certainly get around and reflect on your personal brand. If you develop a reputation of ditching businesses on bad terms, future prospective employers and marketing talent agencies could very well hear about it and avoid inviting you to join their business.
- Future references. As a marketer, you should understand the importance of a first impression. But for professional relationships, it’s often the last impression that matters most. The further you go in your career, the more important your references will be–and rest assured any good marketing recruitment experts will be checking them. The way your managers and peers perceive you as you walk out the door is the way they’ll remember you in the future. And it’s that impression they’ll be most likely to share in the future when called for personal references. Make sure they only have good things to say!
- You never know where your career will take you. Many career paths include a loop where a professional returns to a previous employer for a higher position. It makes sense–you already have a good understanding of you’re company’s business model, the market, and the culture. Once you leave to get some new experience and skills, you’re well-equipped to return and take in a new role with more responsibility. But you’ll never be welcomed back if you leave on bad terms.
Even if you happen to dislike your current job and company, leaving on the best possible terms is still the wise choice of action. There’s no benefit to fostering bad blood. Move on with a clean slate!
When and How to Give Notice
Once you have formally accepted an offer letter, you should turn in your two weeks notice as quickly as possible. That could be as early as the same day, or the next day at the latest.
The one exception to this rule is Fridays. The end of the week is usually a poor time to give notice; the weekend following it obstructs anything you and your boss can do to start a transition plan. In this case, it’s smarter to wait until Monday.
Do it in-person if at all possible; over the phone if not. Do not resign via email.
After you have notified the people you report to, you should let the rest of the organization know as soon as possible. Resist the temptation to hide it from your peers or the team you manage. They won’t appreciate having less time to say their farewells or get essential information from you.
Stick to the Two-Week Deadline
No matter how excited you are about your new marketing job and how desperately the new company wants you, you should always accept it with the expectation that you’ll provide your current employer with a full two weeks (10 business days) of notice, support and preparation.
Many professionals feel the need to offer even more notice; sometimes three weeks, a month or more. Top performing marketers frequently feel a certain amount of loyalty and obligation to their current employer—especially if they’ve had a long tenure. And they certainly want to leave on good terms, maintain a healthy relationship and leave behind a legacy that they’re proud of.
This is an understandable urge, but ultimately unnecessary.
Rather than prolong your resignation and exit process, the best way to help your company and yourself is to depart in a normal timeframe so you can both move on.
Trust your employer, and your team, to endure without you. We marketers often like to think that we’re an essential cog of our business’s machine. If we leave, everything will fall apart!
In reality, employees come and go all the time. Retirements, resignations, growth-driven hires and corporate mergers create a constant talent cycle. If you’re having a hard time committing to a two week timeline, consult with your marketing search firm for assistance.
Step Up. Then Get Out of The Way
The last few days of employment at an established company can be, well, awkward; both for you and for those you interact with. Even on the seemingly short two-week cycle, you’ll often find the last couple of days to be unproductive for you and distracting for your coworkers.
You should work hard once you’ve handed in your resignation to equip your marketing team with everything it will need to continue operations and find a replacement. Document your procedures, have a positive exit interview, help design a candidate profile for the next person in your role and identify a good marketing talent agency to find them. Then get out of the way.
As time passes you’ll likely find yourself with little to do as your responsibilities are documented and distributed to others. They’ll be making plans, having meetings and working on projects you’ll have no part of. Your mind will be occupied by thoughts of your next job. This is bearable for a few days, but it gets progressively more uncomfortable over time. Imagine enduring it for that third week!
As much as you like your coworkers and they return the sentiment, you’re doing them no favors by lingering. The best thing you can do is work hard to pass over the reins and then get out of their way.
Dodge the Drama
With a definitive timer on your remaining tenure, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “you have nothing to lose” at the workplace. That encourages some people to “speak their mind” about their coworkers in a way that they’re been previously unable to, or join conversations that they would otherwise have the tact to avoid.
Our advice is to take the high road and refrain. You might get some immediate gratification from calling out a lazy coworker or fickle boss, but that won’t do anything but dredge up drama and pile on baggage that will just weigh you down going forward.
Additionally, some people at your business might not take the news well. They may take your departure personally, or feel that you’re abandoning them at a tough time. Emotions can run high during those last few days. But it’s important that you refrain from responding negatively and making the situation worse.
How to Deal with Counteroffers
In rare occasions, your current employer may try to keep you from leaving by offering you a better salary or other concessions. This is known as a “counteroffer.”
No matter how tempting the counteroffer is, there is almost no situation where it is beneficial for you to take it. We explain more about the detriments of counteroffers here. If you’re on the fence about accepting a counteroffer or not, ask your marketing search firm for help comparing your options.