Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I’ve written in the past about how to resign from your job, but this is a very interesting note about what to say when it comes to the reason for leaving.
Hi, Sharlyn. I want some advice on how to tell my employer why I’m leaving my job.
The reason is very personal and it’s a situation that I believe I need to prepare for. To properly take care of my situation, I believe it’s best to become unemployed for a while. I think I need the time that a job takes up to prepare myself for the future. I work full-time, and my employer does not allow the option for employees to work part-time at my job in case you think to mention that as a possible alternative.
Honestly, I’m not sure whether my employer would agree with my decision. So, I’m trying to figure out how I would tell my employer my reason for leaving, or if I should be so forthright in telling my employer the reason for my leaving at all.
I like my job and the company I work for. If I thought they would work with me (in terms of flexibility), I think would stay. The main thing is that I want to stay on good terms with my employer so I might have the option to return. But for right now, I am pretty much resolute in my decision to leave my employer in pursuit my goals.
I look forward to hearing back you.
I can think of many reasons that an employee would resign and not want to get into a lot of detail regarding the reason (i.e., an upsetting health diagnosis, a change in family status, being victim of a crime, feeling unsure/unsafe about their living situation, etc.). My thanks to this reader for sharing this situation with me.
Let me start by saying that there’s no rule that says you have to tell the company why you’re resigning. You can simply say “it’s personal” or “it’s private” and leave it at that. I’d like to think that an organization would be respectful of your comments and not push the matter.
Obviously though, organizations ask for a reason so if they spot a trend, they can address it. For instance, in this situation, the reader makes it clear that the company doesn’t allow for part-time work. Well, what if all of a sudden, several employees were resigning for part-time work, then the company might consider changing their policy. So, organizations aren’t asking to be nosy. They’re asking so they can potentially address problems and keep good people.
Speaking of part-time work, I know this note says it’s not allowed, but could this be one of those situations where confirming the company policy makes sense? Recruitment and retention are tough. Good employees who like their job and the company are hard to find. Does it make sense to ask if the company would consider part-time work? Maybe offer to be the ‘test’ employee? You know your organization and can decide if it is worth asking just to be sure.
If an employee wants to offer a reason for resigning, but is unsure about what to say, here’s another option. Some employees when they are resigning give a reason but not the *real* reason. I’m not saying that employees lie. What I mean is that an employee might say, “I found a job closer to home that pays more.” And that’s true. But the real reason – the reason that the employee started looking in the first place – is because their boss is a bully. So, if you have a reason for leaving that you would rather not share BUT you also have one that you’re fine with sharing…focus on the latter. Maybe an employee could say, “I have some personal issues that I need to focus on right now, so I’m going to find something part-time or on-call.”
One last thing. There is something in this reader note that the employee should definitely say to the company. If you love your job – say it. If you enjoy working for the company – say it. If you’d like to be considered for rehire at a future date – tell them. I’m sure the company would appreciate hearing that your employment experience was a good one.
No one knows for sure what the future brings. We will all have challenges that we have to deal with, including how we will handle our jobs. And that doesn’t mean we have to share all the details. Think about what you’re comfortable sharing including how you believe it would be received. And don’t forget to share the good things.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Dallas, TX25