How to quit your job

ITworld 1/18/2008

Emmanuel Conde, Bridge Resourcing Solutions
Take this job and shove it
I ain't working here no more
My woman done left and took all the reasons
I was working for
You better not try to stand in my way
As I'm a walking out the door.
Take this job and shove it
I ain't working here no more

Johnny Paycheck may have had good reason to be unhappy about his job when he sang this song, and you may be tempted to borrow this famous line when leaving yours, but don't.

There's a lot to consider when a CCIE feels it's time to make a career move. Typically, compensation is not the main reason. How a CCIE earns a living is as important as how much they earn. Greater technology challenges and responsibility usually drives the decision to look around. A limited career path may also be a factor. Moving up in a company is often tied to management responsibilities, but many technologists don't want to manage staff. While mentoring is attractive, the responsibility for annual reviews, budgets and morale takes all of the fun out of pushing bits and bytes.

Here are some tips for a smart search, and a healthy transition:

Keep positive
I advise anyone interviewing with a recruiter to refrain from being negative about a current employer. Negativity is a red flag, and gives me a reason to do more thorough reference checks.

Give plenty of notice
Happy or not, you owe your employer notice of your intention to leave. In the US, a two week notice is standard. 30 days is common in the UK. Often a CCIE's responsibilities for a project or critical deliverable may necessitate a longer notice and when an employee has the courtesy to note this in their resignation, it is usually appreciated. However, be careful if your next employer is pushing you hard to wrap things up with your current employer earlier than you are comfortable with. Burning bridges is dangerous. The CCIE community is small. Your paths will cross again. Be polite and do the right thing.

Well that foreman, he's a regular dog
The line boss, he's a fool
Got a brand new flat-top haircut
Lord, he thinks he's cool
One of these days, I'm gonna blow my top
And that sucker, he's gonna pay
Lord I can't wait to see their faces
When I get up the nerve to say

Be polite
Never allow yourself to quit in anger or frustration. Collect your thoughts. A simple resignation expresses an appreciation for the responsibilities given, makes a statement about the decision to make a career move, and the date intended for separation. Avoid a long, drawn-out process. Remain in control of the exit and prevent personal feelings from entering the process. I have seen tears, shouting matches, and tire slashing. Quitting is hard especially if you've been working with the same team for years. Feelings that you are letting down the team by leaving are real.

What to say
Here's an example: "Tom, I appreciate the opportunity you have given me over the past few years. I have made a decision to move on and would like to ensure we have an orderly transition of my responsibilities. It is my intention to resign my position effective January 23rd, 2008."

How to say it
Deliver your resignation in person and face your boss in a private area. Ask them to give you some time on their schedule to discuss a personal matter. Most managers will be pretty busy and will have to add you to their calendar if they think the discussion is a business matter. Let them know it is important and of a personal nature. Don't dwell on negative discussions and practice what you are going to say to avoid blurting out anything you might regret later. Hand them your letter of resignation and give them a moment to take it in. Let them know it was not an easy decision to make and offer to assist in your transition.

Final advice
Leave on a good note and never say, "Take this job and shove it"!

Eman (Emmanuel Conde) has the privilege of being the only Cisco Systems Authorized Global CCIE recruiter for Cisco Systems and the Cisco Gold Partners. Eman was awarded this distinction because of his tireless efforts on behalf of CCIEs and developing Cisco talent. He has spoken at Cisco Academy events, developed an international CCIE mentor program, is responsible for creating the monthly Second Life career development series for Cisco Academy participants, writes for ITworld and featured in numerous articles on subjects related to CCIE career development. He has also managed and mentored one of the largest pools of CCIEs in the country, works with companies to create resource retention programs, and has maintained one of the largest pools of CCIE contacts in the virtual networking space. Eman's plans include the development of strategies to assist the Cisco Gold Partners in obtaining, maintaining and developing Cisco talent. He is Client Director, Technology Solutions at Bridge Resourcing Solutions. Reach him at or visit his blog.
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