Ending a relationship can be challenging – especially when terminating your employment relationship. Sometimes it's an easy-breezy high five and best of luck, and sometimes it's Jerry Springer levels of drama. While we can't control the actions and responses of others, we do have control over our own. Take control and, when you end your employment relationship (or any relationship for that matter), ensure you are being treated fairly.
Shorter jobs, like a summer-time fling, can be ended without outside assistance. Everyone received what they wanted and it's time to move on. Careers are like marriage, and when a marriage ends there's legal assistance. As Friedman and Abrahamsen Law in Tallahassee, FL notes:
For ending employment, especially after an extended duration, it's often necessary to have a detailed agreement outlining the rights of the employee and employer. Severance agreements have a serious impact on legal rights and obligations, as well as future employment. It's recommended to have an attorney review detailed agreements like this for employer and employees alike.
Severance packages/agreements are the pay and benefits that live on for a time after employment ends. Depending on multiple factors, this may be offered or it may not be necessary. How do we know? That's why legal help is practical when ending employment.
What is a Severance Agreement?
To avoid legal trouble, employers usually include how they determined severance terms. Typically, it will include:
- Health benefits
- Return of property
- Confidentiality agreement
- General unemployment information
- Covenant Not to Sue
One of the more sensitive points of a severance agreement is the non-compete. What if that severely limits your future opportunities? It can be concerning when we sign an agreement that affects our future potential. For those in college, these concerns can feel like a lifetime away – at least after that month in "Barthelona". But the employee/employer relationship is one that takes effort and patience just like a real one. Except this relationship pays for your housing, food, insurance, and that trip to "Barthelona".
Other Things to Consider
If you are leaving work due to unethical business practices, sexual harassment, under threat, or retaliation due to internal issues, then you need to find legal help immediately. Employment termination is tricky as is and can become more convoluted if there are extenuating circumstances surrounding an employee's leave.
If everything has been gravy between you and your employer and it's simply time to move on, then consider the following best business practices:
Don't Burn Bridges – They may have been walking bags of dive bar trash that sat in the rain for a week before getting picked up, but you never know who you'll run into again. Or, who may have the ear of your dream job manager. So try not to walk out of the door with two fingers up and poo on someone's desk.
Have a plan/job lined up – I hate to say it, but Millennials tend to leave on a whim without a second thought to what comes next (I AM one, so I can say that…). It may be time to move on but try to have another job lined up or some promising interviews. Or a plan to travel the world. Just have a plan for after.
Give Adequate notice – 2 weeks is standard.
Resignation letter – It's common courtesy and professional. This is NOT a letter of request or suggestion, however. This is your statement of intention and action to your employer. They will try to command you to stay or possibly get upset with you, but leaving a company isn't wrong, unethical, or a sleight in any way. Don't let it get personal, just keep it kind and professional.