Change is scary. In fact, one of the reasons people stay in a job they don’t like is the fear of change. Questions lurk in the back of our minds. What if I don’t get along with my new co-workers? What if I can’t perform as well in this new role? Can I manage a huge learning curve at my age? One additional fear may simply be the uncertainty about how to properly and professionally resign your current job.
Companies typically do not train their employees on the right way to quit. As a result, there is very little consistency beyond giving the traditional “2 week notice” in the workplace. But if you want to manage your career in a way to maximize your future opportunities, maintain great relationships within your profession, and not burn bridges, it is very important that you leave your job in the right way.
I have been in pharmacy management for many years and have had to “give notice” on multiple occasions in my career. The following advice is based on the best material I have read on the subject, as well as my personal experience, advice and observation of pharmacists who have left jobs to take a new position with a different employer.
My first advice to pharmacists about quitting their job is simply this: don’t quit yet. What I mean is that you should always give your current employer the opportunity to help you achieve what you are looking for in your career. If you have been a strong contributor in your present position, many employers will try to accommodate your interests. Don’t assume you need to leave your company to gain new experiences. Be honest and open with your boss about your ambitions.
My second piece of advice about quitting is that, generally speaking, you want to have another job lined up already. The fact is that, while it is a lot of work, finding a job while you have a job is typically easier. The job market for pharmacists is not what it was 20 years ago. You will want to be sure you have a job offer, and have accepted it, prior to leaving your role.
Third, when it comes time to inform your company that you are leaving, start with your immediate supervisor and make it as personal as possible. Don’t shoot them a text and tell them you are quitting. Ask to meet them in person if you can. However, depending on the type of pharmacy job you have, a personal meeting may be impossible to accomplish. In that case, a phone call is usually the next best thing. Be sure to tell your boss how much you have appreciated working for them (now is not the time to unload) but that you have accepted a new job with a new company. I recommend following up with a brief, formal letter that specifies your last day. Remember that this will probably go in your file.
As for notifying the rest of your team, co-workers and other individuals that need to know, I simply recommend you do it quickly and to let as many know at once as possible. Be very positive in all communications about your transition. Be professional.
Fourth, give a reasonable amount of time for transition. Typically a 2-week notice is a minimum for most jobs, it may be prudent to try and give 3 weeks’ notice, or more, if your role is going to be particularly difficult to replace. Whatever you can do to help create a smooth transition will be much appreciated by most employers. Can you recommend another pharmacist to backfill your spot? These efforts help create professional respect.
Fifth, and finally, be prepared for a counter offer…and turn it down. I fully agree with J.T. O’Donnell, CEO of Careerealism, who said in an article on quitting your job “When you make the decision to quit, don’t waiver. Show good character by following through on your decisions and proving you aren’t just about the money.” Statistically most people who accept counter offers end up leaving in a short while anyway. It is a rare situation where the counter offer creates a better situation for either the employer or employee.
Dwight L. Moody once said “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of me.” Quitting is about character. It will often reveal the type of person you really are. Leaving a job is never easy. And leaving in the right way so as to promote the best interests of your career and your prior employer can be even harder. But by following these tips you will be on your way to making a successful transition while maintaining a great reputations and good relationships with everyone involved.