Many people put a career move at the top of their list of New Year’s resolutions. If that describes you, you may want to think carefully before you leap.
For global accountants in countries with a low unemployment rate, finding a new job will be relatively easy. Yet, of the finance professionals polled for an Accountemps survey, 23 per cent say they have regrets about leaving a former job.
Before you quit your job, be absolutely sure leaving it is the best course of action. If you’ve found a new dream job, that’s reason enough. But if you’re simply dissatisfied with your current situation, consider these tips:
- Audit your dissatisfaction. Be honest with yourself and pinpoint exactly why you want to leave your job. Then see if handing in your notice is the best recourse. If the source of your discontentment is something that can be resolved with a few open discussions, consider fixing the situation before taking any other steps.
- Start a dialogue. Chances are good your manager isn’t aware of your unhappiness. Be open about your feelings, but don’t just complain. Employers appreciate workers who are problem solvers. Let’s say you’re no longer interested in your assignments. Rather than talking about how bored you are, approach your boss with ideas that could add interest to your work and also benefit the company.
- Take this time to add to your credentials. When you work toward another certification or degree, you’re not only shaking up your routine, but you’re also making yourself more valuable to current and future employers. Most upper-level accountancy jobs require applicants to be a fully qualified CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), ACA (Association of Chartered Accountants) or ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Some companies help pay for their employees’ continuing education, and if yours does, you should take advantage of this perk before changing jobs.
- Seek an outsider’s opinion. A senior-level finance professional — someone who’s not your boss — is an excellent resource when you need a clear, unbiased perspective on your current job situation and want wider options.
- Take a break. Temporarily unplugging from the office could be just what you need to recharge your batteries and possibly fall in love with your job again. If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that offers sabbaticals, take advantage of this perk to consider your options. If not, use those accrued holidays for a well-deserved time away.
How to resign with grace
Let’s say you’ve considered every alternative and decided the best career move is a new job. After securing it, here are some tips for parting ways with your current employer and leaving on a positive note:
- Give proper notice. It’s not always mandatory to give your employer notice, depending on your country of employment, but it is always a good gesture. In the UK, for example, the mandatory notice period is one week if you’ve worked at a company for at least a month. To leave on good terms, let your boss know at least two weeks before your last day on the job.
- Be helpful. During the notice period, get all your projects ready to hand off to your replacement(s). Be generous about training and assisting the people who will take over your workload.
- Don’t burn your bridges. Even if you hate your current job, never do or say anything you could later regret. The accounting world is small, and word can get around very quickly — perhaps even to your next employer. Besides, you may one day want to return to the company or find yourself working with former co-workers.
- Be smart about exit interviews. Your final meeting with HR is not the time to air your grievances. When asked why you’re leaving, simply mention your desire for a new challenge. Mention the positive aspects of the job and all the things you’ve learned during your tenure. If asked about ways the company could improve employee retention, be honest, yet tactful.
Life is too short to be stuck in a dead-end position. If you’ve decided that 2018 is the year you’ll be happy at work, be deliberate about making positive changes — whether at your current job or with a brand new employer.