Moving jobs: a guide to breaking the news

It’s never easy telling your colleagues that you’re moving jobs. Here’s a guide to help smooth the transition

By Ernest Richardson

The days of the job for life are well and truly behind us. The average UK worker will move jobs every five years, and some top executives only last three years before finding new employment.

As a result, most of us need to have tricky conversations about moving jobs with our colleagues on a fairly regular basis. You know, the one akin to dumping a partner, where you explain that you’re moving on, that it’s you not them, that you just feel the time’s come for a change.

And even though such conversations should get easier the more you practise, there’s never a straightforward way to tell the people around you that you’re jumping ship.

To help make things as painless as possible, we asked the consultants at Just Recruitment for their top tips. Here’s what they had to say.

Tracey, Consultant, Witham Office: “My advice is to be completely honest with your colleagues. Tell them why you’ve decided to leave. If you hate your current job, they’ve probably noticed a lack of motivation. They may even be glad to see the back of you!

It’s different if you love your current role and feel like you’re working among friends. You may feel a bit gutted to be moving jobs if that’s the case. But there must be a reason for your decision. Is it because the money’s better, or you’re relocating? Or do you feel like there’s more chance of promotion in the new place? Whatever your reason, tell people. They’ll respect your decision, and most probably wish you all the best for the next chapter in your working life.”

Lisa, Consultant, Sudbury Office: “If there’s one thing I don’t think you should ever let on about a career move, it’s your new salary. Most people change jobs to earn more money, and your (soon-to-be former) colleagues may feel a bit envious of your newfound wealth. My advice is to keep details about your earnings under wraps. Tell them you’re moving jobs for better prospects, or because the working conditions are better. If you lord your pay rise over them, it may make them feel less motivated in their roles. Your current boss won’t thank you for that.”

Airida, Temp Consultant, Ipswich Office: “Always leave the door open for a return to your existing employer. That’s the best advice I’ve ever received about moving jobs. Unless you’re leaving under a cloud, you should work hard to retain relationships in your current workplace. Tell your boss and colleagues how much you’ve appreciated working with them. Provide helpful feedback on your experience in the job. Ask if it’s okay to keep in touch. That way, if you get three weeks into your new position and can’t stand it, you know you have somewhere to go back to. And even if you don’t return, it’s always good to leave on a positive note.”

Ellen, Consultant, Haverhill Office: “You’ll undoubtedly feel pretty chipper about your new opportunity, but my advice would be to temper your enthusiasm in your current workplace. If you seem too self-congratulatory, it could backfire. People may resent your success, or feel as if you’ve got too big for your boots. If you’ve enjoyed a good reputation with your existing employer, it’s a shame for that to be undone by other people’s envy of your success. Human beings are funny things: we can’t help but feel irritated when people around us do well at something. It’s your job to mitigate that, for the sake of leaving on a high.”

Emma Kershaw, Director, Just Recruitment Group Ltd: “We deal with people who are changing jobs every day. It’s what we do. So we know all about the emotions that get stirred up when people make the move, both for them and their colleagues.

Our advice is always to handle a job change sensitively, even if it’s within your current company. Now is not the time to tell Betty from accounts that you’ve always hated the way she makes a cup of tea, or to reveal your boss’s shortcomings in the exit interview. Nor is it the time to boast about your stellar career. Sure, you feel excited. Yes, you’re going places. But your workmates will grasp that for themselves. You don’t need to spell it out.

I’d always recommend telling your line manager before you tell anyone else. It’s a simple matter of professional etiquette. Then you can tell your colleagues, if your boss gives you the okay. Word will soon spread, and people will start to congratulate you, even if you haven’t told them directly. When they do, look grateful, humble and sorry to be leaving.

Remember, the people you’re leaving behind are the ones who have got you to the point of making your next step. Be sure to show them your appreciation. Even if it’s not sincere, it will ensure you leave strong relationships behind. You never know when you’ll need to call on those people again.”

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

If you liked this article you may like to read – Five goals to achieve within your first year at a new job

You may also like to read – Five success boosting habits to adopt today

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