Think Twice Before You Resign

I was in the province recently when I came upon a niece who was currently out of work. I was surprised because she was a bright young woman and was accepted in a large call center a year ago. It turned out that she resigned because the pay was unsatisfactory. For almost a year now, she has remained jobless as she could not find a better company. I may be wrong, but I think it would’ve been better if she didn’t resign until she found another employer.
A large number of the unemployed are not desperately poor. Many can easily get a job. However, they don’t want to settle for just any job; they want a position they believe is worth their effort and personal worth. But what surprises me is the number of people who resign from their jobs with no better alternative on hand.
The result of resigning impulsively without a better option usually places the jobseeker in a worse position than before, unless his skill is extremely rare. The reason for such reckless action is rarely due to rational thinking but due to a toxic combination of emotions and lack of foresight. Before you decide on resigning, I advise you to read my thoughts on the matter first:
Employers find employed people more credible. Being employed puts you in a strong bargaining position. Potential employers know they must beat the terms of your current company in order to get you. Compare this to the situation where you are out of work and people are thinking that you will be forced to grab whatever offer they give. The employer’s fear of getting a person with a bad record is virtually eliminated. Even if you present a certificate of past employment praising your contribution to your previous company, employees may not regard this as a guarantee of good behavior; your current company could just be avoiding legal problems that may arise if they put in anything negative in the certificate.
Frequent job changes are red flag to recruiters. Being too quick to resign may eventually classify you as a job-hopper. Firms avoid hiring job-hoppers as they are wary of investing on your training if you are likely to move to another company in a year or two. But not all job-hopping is considered negatively. If there is advancement in position and pay scale, then it would be easy to justify your change of companies.
The grass looks greener on the other side. This old saying is true most of the time—but not all of the time. You may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. A superficial survey of your job prospects may make other job offers look fabulous. I know one company whose basic pay is the highest in the industry; they even have a big signing bonus. However, new employees soon learn that the pressure to meet targets in that company is so difficult that few last more than a couple of years.
Consider the value of loyalty. Observe how people with below standard qualifications occupy critical positions in the company. Excluding relatives of the owner, almost all of them have been in the company for many years—often dating back to the time when it was just a struggling start-up. Most companies reward loyalty, and if you are the type who resigns easily, you will perpetually disqualify yourself from this status.
Your current employer may increase your current compensation. If your main problem with your present job is your salary, then it is very possible that your boss may offer you better compensation if he really wants you to stay. Be careful, however, that your boss doesn’t get the impression that you are attempting to give the company an ultimatum—he may just call your bluff.
Your capabilities will remain current. If you are in a field like technology, where the pace of change is very rapid, and you did not get a position within a year, you may be hardpressed to catch up with developments. Being sidelined for a long time will damage your employment prospects as recruiters may think your capabilities are already obsolete.
You never know if you will ever be employed again. There are many people who resigned too soon and then were no longer able to get a job. This usually happens to people who are considered over-aged or over-qualified. (And the age range that is considered too old for the position is becoming lower now.)
Consider the consequences of immediate resignation. Sometimes a great offer comes along, but unfortunately the need for the position is so urgent that you will have to resign at once instead of waiting for the legally mandated 30-day notice. Be aware that when you do this, you may burn bridges with your present employer. Another problem is that your new employer would be aware of your history of abandoning your employer. It is but natural for them to assume that you may do the same thing to them.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.