Knowing When (and How) to Say When

danny-0509Best practices for ending one job to start another.
I know…I know…you read the title of this blog and thought, “This guy is insane! Who’s voluntarily leaving their job in this market?!” Well, let me tell you, here are a couple of things to consider before you join me on this crazy notion.

First, I attended a seminar recently where the speaker informed the audience that until the economic downturn 2% of the job seekers left their jobs voluntarily each month. This means that roughly 24% of the annual labor force was choosing to leave their positions. However, the speaker also noted that in the past couple of years, this figure has dropped to nearly 0% monthly, suggesting that the workers that normally would have voluntarily left their positions are holding on to their jobs.

Second, the job market, at least in Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas is currently experiencing a plateau or (wait for it) slight growth over the last quarter. WOW! Now, we are encouraged not to celebrate too early, but economists and forecasters alike seem to think this is a good sign for even better things to come.

Now, if you think about it, if the market is about to turn around and a significantly large number of people are holding tight until it does, what do you think will happen when employment becomes more readily available? Open the flood gates, après moi le deluge! (Google it…you’ll learn some French and a cool phrase!)

So, when it is time to leave your position to move on to bigger and better things, how do you do it?

First, leave in a timely and respectful manner. If you are under contract, you may be obligated to give two or more weeks notice. However, even if not obligated, it is a courteous business practice. When you give your notice, speak to your direct supervisor and have a written notice professionally worded and typed with the date at which notice is given. Do not overstate reasons for departure. Phrases such as, “ I can finally get out of here!” or “A better job that appreciates me is waiting,” should be avoided. Instead, simply state that you are giving notice of your departure. If you say anything, focus on the good: “I have learned much in this position and I appreciate the opportunity you have given me.”

Second, once notice is given remain a good employee. Continue to do your job well. Make an effort to clear up loose ends and provide a well-stated and easy to follow succession plan for the employee who will assume your duties. Make lists of useful processes, people, and “quirks” about your job that might be helpful to the new employee: “Tuesday is the best day to call ABC company…speak to Jan and mention my name.”

Third, make yourself available with reasonable limits. Providing a good succession plan might be all you need to do; however, let your boss and team know that if a dire circumstance arises, they can call you for the next couple of weeks to get assistance. Be clear in providing a time limit as you are being courteous in offering your availability. It is the kind and professional thing to do. However, you will no longer be on your previous employer’s payroll so your efforts should be reasonable and with a clear ending timeframe.

I offer this advice now in hopes that those who are in temp work or are in that newly-“hot underemployed” group will soon find bountiful opportunities to express their full potential. And, in doing so, we will all leave a happy trail of previous employers with no bridges burned and professionalism abounding.

Danny Zendejas is the Hospitality Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in the hospitality industry and workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.

2 Responses to “Knowing When (and How) to Say When”


  1. 1 danielzendejas May 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

    It is indeed, Ross. But, when you think about it, in a tight labor market, people with jobs are less prone to “jump ship” to look for work when work may not be readily available. This was enlightening to me as well because I know plenty of people that are in a hold pattern of sorts — building their resume through increased skill sets and duties, attending continuing education, and getting the most out of their current work with the end goal being a move to a more lucrative career. The nature of working is that we want to do what’s best for us now and in the future. As the labor market begins to improve we will see more movement of employees. Thank you for your comment and for reading our blogs! My best wishes to all on the job search!

  2. 2 Ross May 5, 2010 at 4:52 am

    It’s a bit of a paradox to think that when the percentage of employees that leave goes up, it means the job market is doing well!


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