Dear New Shrink,
I recently received a job offer to join a new company. I am really excited about this new opportunity, however, I am nervous about letting my current boss know that I am leaving. I have established a strong relationship with her and want to maintain the relationship. Specifically, I want to share with her that although I was not actively looking for a new job, a great position presented itself that was hard to turn down. The position will not start for another two months so I have some time to make my move. Do you have any advice about how to let my supervisor know that I am leaving?
Making a transition to a new opportunity can be filled with excitement and hesitation. Specifically it can be difficult to navigate how to let your boss and your current colleagues know that you are preparing for a new position. Ultimately honesty and genuineness will serve you best.
The most important thing for you to consider is timing. For instance, if your supervisor is preparing for a big meeting or is about to take a vacation, it is important that you time your announcement appropriately. Likewise, different people can have different reactions to such an announcement. Sometimes delivering this news on a Friday allows your supervisor and team the weekend to reflect on your announcement and prepare for next steps. Considering the mindset and responsibilities of your manager will help you to make the smoothest transition.
Although two-weeks notice has become a standard, recognizing that you have a longer timeline before starting your next position means that you have the opportunity to provide your team with extra time to prepare for the transition. You mention that you have a positive relationship with your manager and that you would like to continue that. Giving your supervisor extra lead-time may help to keep you in a positive light. Offering to assist in the transition can also help your current team to see that you are interested in continuing to support their goals despite your pending departure.
Once you have a time in mind, make sure that you share your news in person. It is important that you show her respect by scheduling an in-person meeting at a time that is convenient for her. Review her calendar and make sure that you are not announcing your departure right before a big meeting or project deadline.
Before your meeting, plan out what you want to say. Even though you may have a great relationship with your boss, sharing this type of news can be difficult and you may struggle to find the right words to convey your message. Start by considering your timeline. You should have a date for your last day of work. Keep in mind that you may want time off to transition between jobs. You should also consider what you could do to ease the transition, including specific projects or deliverables that will not be completed by the time you leave. Establishing your remaining responsibilities and providing your boss with an action plan or timeline will be a great way to show your obligation to the team.
During your meeting be sure to let your boss know that you are not leaving for personal reasons and that you have truly enjoyed your time with the company. Make your statement personal and authentic. Mention specific aspects of your position and relationship that you particularly enjoy. Even if some of the parts of your position are negative, this is not the time to share them. Focus on the positive and the things you will miss about your current company. State the facts about the new opportunity and the value it plays in your professional growth. Close by stating your willingness to help out and put in the work needed for a smooth transition.
Be mindful that not all people handle change the same way. Your supervisor may be shocked by your news and may not respond in the way you expect. Brace yourself and be sure not to respond negatively or on the defensive should she make a negative comment about your news. Providing your boss with time to reflect and respond will be the best way to move on.
Finally, I believe a personal note goes a long way. Whether you provide this note at the end of your tenure with the company or a few weeks into your new position, taking the time to show your appreciation will help you to maintain your relationship. Good luck with your transition.
KATRINA DAVY, M.A., Ed.M, is a Santa Monica-based professional college and career counselor. She holds degrees from Columbia and Cornell universities. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!