When Resigning Feels Like A Grieving Process

 There is a loss that we experience when we leave a job or a workplace. We are letting go of what was, what is and what could have been. While resigning may be an exciting time filled with thoughts of what lies ahead, there is a sense of closure we crave. Like a relationship, we carry our emotional baggage with us to the next job. If we’re not aware of this baggage, it can weigh us down and keep us from finding fulfillment in any workplace.

From contemplating leaving your job to officially handing in your resignation, this process can feel like going through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Below you will find examples of what each stage may sound like. The important thing to remember is that this process can take time and that it is normal to feel as if you are going around in circles. Clarity has a way of finding its way when the time is right.

Denial → I don’t need to resign.

It’s fine. Work’s fine. I’m fine.

This will pass.

It’s really not that bad. Everyone hates their job. Everyone hates their boss.

It’s totally normal to feel constantly tired, stressed, and like you’re never good enough.

I wouldn’t be able to get another job anyway, I don’t have any skills.

Things aren’t that bad, this is only temporary.

I’m lucky I have a job, I don’t really have anything to complain about.

Anger  I should resign, that’ll show them.

I can’t believe they didn’t give me that pay rise.

I should have left ages ago when I had the chance.

If I have to hear them tell me how to do my job one more time...

I am going to lose it if I receive one more condescending email.

They don’t even appreciate me. They would be screwed without me.

Bargaining  I won’t need to resign if things get better.

Maybe if I just stick it out for another 6 months?

If I can just save up another $20k, then I could leave.

Once I get the next promotion, I’ll be set.

Maybe if I just have a chat with my boss, they’ll see the reason and we can make some changes?

I just need a holiday, if I could have a holiday I’m sure I’d come back and be much happier.

If I just got the pay rise, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about it.

If I don’t have another job to go to, I can’t resign.

Depression  Resigning feels like too much effort.

It’s going to suck letting people down.

What if I can’t get another job? What if I regret leaving?

I really don’t want to have to go through learning a new job or getting to know a whole new team.

I’ll be starting all over again.

I can’t believe I’ve stayed this long.

Acceptance  I have no choice, I have to resign.

It’s the right thing to do, I’m only letting myself down by staying.

There are so many other opportunities out there.

This is for the best, I will look back on this decision in years to come and be grateful.

It’s not my responsibility to worry about what they will do without me.

I have given it all I’ve got, it’s time to put myself and my future first.

Maybe you can hear yourself now in some of these statements. Or perhaps you recognize them from your past. Often once we start having doubts about our job, the process has begun and there is no turning back. Resignation is a one-way street to (hopefully) somewhere or something better.

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