Friday, 15 May 2015

Resigning in New Zealand

Once we have made the decision to resign, then we need to talk to our immediate manager, clearly communicating the date we aim to leave by, and - if we feel we can - explaining why we are going; or, more positively, where we are going to. 

In New Zealand, we need to acknowledge the required notice period in our employment contract, and let our manager know what our last day will be. If our exit date needs to be earlier than our notice period, the organisation is entitled to withhold our salary for the days that we are unable to work. If this is the case, then we may need to negotiate how an earlier exit might work for both of us. 

However, there are some organisations which will put us on 'gardening leave' rather than leave us at work, potentially poaching customers or information. We need to be mentally prepared for that, particularly if we are a senior staff member.

We should have our resignation letter already prepared and printed to give to our manager at the conclusion of our meeting (get a template from Careers New Zealand here). In that letter we need to state what our final date will be, and to date and sign the letter: these are our only legal requirements. Any additional information we offer is our own decision. We could explain what we are moving on to - if we felt comfortable in putting that in writing - and, again if we felt comfortable, detail the benefits that our work for the organisation has given us. 

It is a good idea to be gracious in our resignation letter. People move companies regularly, and we are better to show good manners, and keep our reputation clean. As we are leaving, we can leave any crap about the job behind as well. 

Once we have broken the news to our immediate manager, it will be up to our manager to consult further within the organisation, and to then get back to us to outline the process for our departure. We may not be able to tell any of our colleagues that we are leaving until there is an organisational announcement, and - if we want a cordial exit - we need to allow the organisation to follow their own internal schedule and PR programme. I know of someone who was not allowed to say they were leaving until the organisation announced the appointment of the new person; and in the lee of that announcement came the aside that the present incumbent was leaving. It was an awful way of handling an exit, but it was not up to the person who was resigning to drive that process.

We do not need to attend an exit interview unless we want to. In one position I held, I was asked to attend an exit interview lunch. I attended the lunch, but as I did not trust the interviewer to keep any feedback appropriately confidential, I simply redirected the conversation to other matters. I kept my reputation, and had a nice lunch on the company I was leaving. 

I think the best advice is: be polite, only explain what we need to, and move on to the next big thing. 


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