Published: 7 February 2022

According to a Microsoft Worklabs report, 41% of people are considering leaving their workplace. No wonder then that people are talking about the coming age of the great resignation. As a response to the ongoing skills gap and candidate shortage, employers are offering some really tempting contracts. It is hardly surprising that a lot of workers are considering the move. One thing that often holds them back, though, is the emotional roller coaster of resigning. It’s important to recognise that not only is your response to changing jobs a perfectly reasonable one, but it is also one you can be ready for. So why is it such an emotional wrench sometimes, and what can we do to recognise and alleviate the emotional cycle that occurs when you leave a job? 

The emotions of resignation 

Resigning from your job is a life event. Our jobs are tied up with our identities and our view of ourselves. When we leave one then, we are pulling away from something that is genuinely significant to us. The moment you lay your cards on the table and say, “I am leaving”, you are changing the path of your career and changing your future. It can be a step into the unknown, but it is also a positive action in the eyes of the candidate. When it comes right down to it, nobody resigns unless they see it as being a stepping stone to a better life. It’s important to gain perspective and balance when you are considering resigning and maintaining that viewpoint throughout the process. 

A mixture of fear and exhilaration 

This is probably the most common reaction to the decision to resign. Essentially this is a mixture of the excitement and anticipation that comes with the thought of a better future or career and the fear that you are leaving behind the familiarity of the old job. Be careful here not to mix up the fear of the unknown with a feeling of having made a mistake. Where possible, try to focus on the excitement and the good things to come. These mixed feelings may not go entirely until you are settled in your new role, but you will probably start to feel much better once you actually hand in your notice. It will give you closure, and the only way from there is forward. 

Relief

Once your notice is handed in, the next stage is usually one of relief. Things are in process, and everyone knows you are leaving. Work on getting everything squared away before you leave. It’s always best to be open and willing to help ease the transition of your exit. Even if you find there is some hostility from some areas, rise above it and under no circumstances take the opportunity to settle a few scores. 

Guilt

A lot of people start to feel guilty about leaving their previous role. Even if you are leaving because you were unhappy with the company you worked for, you probably still have friends there who will need to cope until your replacement arrives. While this may be true, you have nothing to be guilty about. They also have the opportunity to look for a better role if they want to. 

The temptation to stay can be very strong. If you get a counteroffer, it can make life difficult for you. Your previous employer may decide to come in with a similar or even slightly better offer than your new job. The bottom line is that most people who accept a counteroffer end up leaving anyway. See our previous blog here about dealing with this situation. 

Sadness

You will almost certainly feel some sadness. Unless you really hated everyone and everything about your job (in which case none of this article will apply anyway) you are going to feel some sadness about leaving. Our advice, embrace this. It is perfectly OK to recognise that you are initially going to miss the old routine and some of the people you work with. However, remember that this is a decision based on what is best for you and feeling a little bit melancholic about the old job isn’t anything to do with that logical career decision you made. 

If you have made the decision to resign, it was certainly for good reasons. The best way to deal with leaving is to keep remembering what the reasons for the change were. There is a great way of looking at things that may help. Ask yourself this. Five years down the road, when you are loving your new job, and your career is blossoming, will you spend more than five minutes remembering the emotional journey of leaving your current role? Chances are you won’t, so why are you spending more than five minutes worrying about it now. 

Contact us if it is time for the move, and let’s see what we can do to help you.