6 Mistakes to Avoid When You Quit Your Job

Employment and Industrial Relations

minutes reading time

DATE PUBLISHED: April 18, 2018

Leaving your job can be a minefield filled with questions and uncertainty, no matter what your reason/s for leaving may be or where you are in your career.

You may ask yourself: Will it be worth it? Will you find something else? What happens if you hate your new job? Will you be able to stay on good terms with your former employer? What about the people who are relying on you in your current role?

It is important in times of transition to stay in control to ensure that your move away from your current employer is smooth and there are no hidden surprises to deal with. Keeping in control is especially important as the world gets more interconnected. The little things that go wrong can stay with you for much longer than they should. It is therefore extremely important that you handle your resignation with grace and professionalism.

For assistance in avoiding these 6 mistakes- click  here

In this article we’ve outlined 6 common mistakes which can wreak havoc on you, your current employer, and potentially your future career.

1. Not Giving The Required Notice Or Preparing A Handover

Quitting your job is not just a matter of writing a quick letter of resignation stating that you are leaving.

You should let you employer know ahead of time that you intend to resign, and your letter needs to be a formalisation of that discussion, setting out your notice period and your end date.

The notice you give should comply with the terms of your contract for employment and/or the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). This usually requires that you give notice of at least one week for each year you have worked for your employer, or at least one pay cycle (for example a fortnight). Some contracts require more notice than others, so make sure you check!

You may also want to express your thanks to your employer for the opportunity they have given you. Your letter should also set out your plans for a handover of all your responsibilities to a new employee or a colleague to ensure that nothing gets lost in the cracks.

Showing your employer that you are willing to work with them to ensure their business keeps running smoothly is an important step in maintaining your own professional reputation. It is also a great opportunity to review your skills and see just how much you’ve learnt in your role.

2. Not Knowing Your Entitlements

When you leave your employer you are entitled to have all of your annual leave, and any other entitlements you have accrued up to your last day paid out. This will also include the balance of your owed superannuation which will be paid directly to your fund. If you fail to give adequate notice your employer may be able to deduct your notice period from any remaining leave.

You are also entitled to receive a final pay slip showing the payout of your entitlements and a group certificate for the financial year in which you finish working. If you don’t have another position lined up and you would like to receive social support such as a NewStart Allowance from Centrelink, you can request that your employer complete an Employment Separation Certificate which you can include in your application.

In the event that you have been unfairly dismissed or forced to leave by your employer against your will, you may be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, a general protections dismissal/unlawful termination application in the Fair Work Commission. You may wish to claim compensation for the termination or reinstatement of your position. These applications must be made to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of the dismissal becoming effective. That timeline is very strict so it is important to act quickly.

3. Not Knowing Your RESTRICTIONS

Equally as important as knowing your entitlements, is knowing your restrictions.

Before you start looking for alternative jobs you should review your current contract. It is very common for employment contracts to contain a “non-compete” clause or a commercial restraint. The effect of these clauses is that if you intend to do largely the same job as you are currently doing but for someone else, your former employer may be able to restrain you from working for the same clients or in close physical location.

This point is especially important for those who are looking to set up a new business in a similar industry or moving to a competitor. It can also become very contentious if you work in a client based industry and clients may move with you to your new role. However your former employer cannot enforce a non-compete clause so forcefully that you cannot work at all – you should still be able to make use of your skills and qualifications, so long as the damage to your old employer is minimised.

It is reasonably likely that your current contract will also deal with intellectual property and resources. You should review your contract and check if you are allowed to take any work you produced whilst with that employer. You should also seek out permission (preferably in writing) to copy any emails or electronic files, including personal ones, off of your employer’s servers or to delete any emails. Not seeking permission could result in you later being accused of retaining confidential information of your employer, which can have serious legal consequences. It is best that you assume that your employer is watching what you do on your computer as soon as you tell them you are leaving.

4. Not Asking For A Recommendation, Statement Of Service, Reference Or Referee

It is fairly standard practice for most employers to provide outgoing employees with a statement of service. It is a relatively simple document which sets out what role you held, and the duration of your service.

Most employers will also be happy to provide you with a written recommendation or reference which you can use to show prospective employers that you were a valued employee and that you performed well. Some employers prefer to act as a referee – meaning that prospective employers can call them to discuss your role and performance. It is courtesy to let your referees know if they might receive a call, from who, and regarding what role so they can prepare for the conversation.

5. Not Updating Your Details With Professional Regulator, Friends And Family

If you forget to update your professional certifications and insurances (if relevant) you may not be able to start in your new position on the date you had arranged, or you might be limited in what you can do.

You should also let your personal contacts know that you are no longer using your workplace email. It might be useful to set up an out of office response, or give a trusted colleague access to your account and they can keep an eye on any emails that are coming in and forward you anything personal that comes in after you’re gone.

6. Not Reflecting On Your Time With Your Employer And Using It To Prepare Yourself For Future Success

While you’re preparing to leave, take some time to reflect on what you learned in your role. This is a great time to think about what you were good at, what you need to work on, and what skills can be transferred to your new role. It is also useful to think about what parts of your job did and didn’t work for you – perhaps the work was interesting but you would prefer a different management style? Or you didn’t enjoy the work and want to do something that is more in line with your long term goals?

Coming into a new job with a clear idea of where you have come from and where you want to go, and what you want to get out of your role will help you to hit the ground running and perform at your best from day one.

Steps To Take When You Quit Your Job

If you haven't yet downloaded our guide on the steps to take when you quit your job, follow the link here. Keep this handy in the event that you have decided to take the plunge and move on from your job. Through avoiding these mistakes, you will be able to ensure a smooth and professional exit from your current role and into the next.

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Employment and Industrial Relations

6 Mistakes to Avoid When You Quit Your Job