Attention Loyalists-It is OK to Leave


For decades, entire generations of workers were taught that the pinnacle of career goals was longevity in a position but gone are the days of service anniversary celebrations and vested pension plans. For those of us who were taught to create an identity around our loyalty to the organization we work for, the new paradigm of the “portable professional” can be a difficult one to onboard.

As the gig economy becomes more prevalent, remote work from home positions become the norm and a new generation of workers with firm boundaries around work/life balance enter the workplace, the ideal of the “portable professional” is replacing that of the “organization man.” Those of us taught that our value came from allowing our life to be dominated by the organization we work for are left trying to overcome the deeply held belief that employees that move from one job to another are immature and less than professional. But that belief system is quickly becoming antiquated in America’s workforce.  

Which is a good thing. The fabric of employment in today’s society has changed, and we loyalists must change with it. Shifting to the model of a portable professional can offer opportunities to grow and learn, and to find careers that align with our authentic selves. 

Have you decided to leave your current position for greener pastures, but are struggling to overcome long held beliefs that value loyalty over growth?  Here are some ways to make your exit gracefully. 

Start connecting with colleagues.  

The most powerful tool in a portable professional’s toolbox is networking. Taking time before you begin your exit to connect with co-workers and colleagues on social media sites and by email can help you stay in touch with contacts that could provide references in the future. 

Wrap things up. 

Work your inbox to zero and keep it there. Start tying up loose ends in the office and with contacts in outside organizations. Take opportunities to cross train and delegate tasks to others who can take on your responsibilities when you leave. Create a transition plan and identify team members who will be able to fill the gaps when you make your exit. Take some time to analyze the impact to the team when you leave and begin moving to alleviate that impact even before you turn in your notice.  

Archive and Document

Organize and archive any documents you use on a regular basis in a way that is easy to understand and find. Start documenting regular tasks and writing down procedures to help with onboarding your replacement. 

Talk to your boss. 

Your boss deserves to be notified of your decision before ANYONE else in the organization. If you have worked your way through steps one through three and are ready to turn in your resignation, do so in person and in writing. While it may be a difficult conversation, it is a critical step in a successful transition to a new career. Avoid the “I’m thinking about leaving,” conversation (which leaves things ambiguous and vague) and be direct and firm in your communication. 

Deciding to leave for a loyalist is never a comfortable decision, but you can stay authentic to your loyal nature by helping prepare the organization you are leaving to make the most successful transition possible. Planning your transition well, communicating directly, and seeking to maintain connection with your co-workers and boss will make the whole process a positive experience for everyone involved.

Our Deep End Talent Strategies coaches are often asked to role play these uncomfortable conversations. Give us a call today.