Hello again. So as you know, I’m off to Japan to start a new adventure soon and this means I need to end a few things on my current adventure before I start the new. I officially handed in my 1 month notice a month ago after finally mustering the courage to resign from my job. I went through quite a lot of thoughts leading up to this point which I really feel no one really prepares you for. So on my last official day at my job in South Africa, I thought I’d share the 3 things no one tells you about resigning:
1) It doesn’t get easier
Like most millennials, this isn’t my first time in the rodeo. We are known as the generation that can’t stay in one job longer than it takes us to find a new one. I reckon most bosses expect it from us after our first year and they probably suffer from anxiety every month that we stay on after that year is up. I have worked at my current company exactly 2 years to the day and I have felt the anxiety of my impending departure all year. Before the opportunity to go to Japan came up, I had promised myself to stick it out despite the companies problems, but I see now that I was fighting my true nature. Anyway, so the first time I ever resigned, it became a tricky situation because my manager refused to see me to accept my resignation due to being “super busy”. I ended up having to resign via HR which was smooth sailing, but I’ve always regretted the way things ended because it made my departure awkward for everyone.
So this time around I tried to prepare myself mentally and I made sure I would catch my manager at a time he was free without too much pre-warning (I didn’t want this one to get away). But alas it was pointless. The Friday before the Monday I would resign, I found myself having mini panic attacks about the whole situation. Because of my previous experience, I had somehow made it a mountain in my mind and my body was starting to show symptoms. What would he say? Would he be angry? Would he be able to replace me? All questions that made my mental mountain bigger but that completely ignored the fact that I needed to resign out of obligation to my new life journey.
2) It’s about you
That being said, resignation is about you. It’s not about your boss, your company or any future plans that they had for you. Unfortunately as workers we sometimes assign ownership of our lives to the people who employ us. Both times I’ve had to resign I have made the move to further my own growth, but both times I’ve resigned, I’ve felt like I was betraying a close family member by having dreams that were outside of them. As I grow I am learning that this is an action that you need to take with some level of selfishness at play. You have to remember why you looked outside of your workplace for a new position in the first place and then use that as motivation to crush the anxiety that tries to build up around your resignation.
3) It’s always bitter sweet
Once you stop feeling like you owe someone something, you might start feeling sad about leaving the people you have come to call your friends. Maybe you can make it work? Or maybe if you hang on a little longer you’ll get to enjoy each others time a bit more. These are thoughts I’ve had both times I’ve resigned. Work forms almost exactly 70% of my waking hours in a day so I always prioritise friendships in this space. If like me, you’ve built some solid relationships in the workplace, it may feel counterintuitive to willingly say goodbye to all these people you’ve come to love. Unfortunately this is the reality of chasing your dreams. You have to make sacrifices. It will hurt. It will seem unfair. But everyone will grow from it. Change is good, and even though your work friends will miss you, they really do wish you nothing but the best for your new adventure. Take that and run with it, before the tears hit you.
That’s it. The things that no one ever tells you about resigning. I usually do a quick google search before I resign, just to make sure I do things right, and I am always shocked at how much anxiety there is around this thing that most of us will go through at one point of our careers. Most times resignations aren’t malicious, so a lot of people who seek advice online are just people who want to move on without having to burn their bridges. Unfortunately most people who respond to these people just want to see the world burn because of their own past experience. I hope this reassures someone that it is possible to leave on good terms, and also that it is okay to be a bit anxious about resigning. It isn’t easy, it’s a bittersweet moment in your career but at least it is the moment just before you step into a new journey.