I want to leave my job - Paul Doran Law

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I want to leave my job

I want to leave my job“I want to leave my job”

Work takes up a huge chunk of our daily life. We spend a lot of time in the workplace, and devote our skills, energy and effort to our employers in return for pay and other benefits.

When things go wrong, it can be difficult to deal with. When things go so wrong that you want to leave, you have various options. This article explores some of them (and there are loads of other useful links at the end).

“I want to leave my job.” Various scenarios

Let’s start by looking at a few imaginary situations.

Nigel has worked for the same company for 12 years. He’s a senior manager, and heads a team of 35 people. He earns a really good salary – but his bosses keep moving the goalposts. As soon as his team get stuck into one project, the task is changed and Nigel has to rearrange and re-motivate his team to achieve a completely different deliverable.

He’s had enough, and wants to leave. Ideally, he wants the company to pay him to leave, because the money would be useful to help him set up his own business. But he recognises that his role is still important to the company, acknowledges that they have the right to give him (and his team) ever-changing objectives, and feels they won’t let him go.

Nigel has a decision to make. Will he stay and carry on taking his salary even though he’s not enjoying the job any more? Or will he resign and take the risk of self-employment without the support of a tax-free cash sum behind him? What are his options, in law? Does he have any?

On the other hand, Rachel works for a company that she thinks treats her badly. For example, when she joined the business, she was promised a promotion that never happened despite multiple meetings about it with her line manager. She has to travel a lot for work, and had the understanding that travel days would be balanced by time off in lieu. This was discussed in her interview, yet the company now refuses to recompense her as agreed for the days she loses on on airlines and with jet-lag.

Worse, another employee has recently been taken on whose job responsibilities overlap with Rachel’s own. This happened without consulting Rachel, and the new hire is getting all the juicy projects that Rachel likes best, while Rachel is left with the dregs.

Rachel finds the situation increasingly intolerable, and feels she is being forced out. She thinks she’s not being paid enough, she’s effectively been demoted, and that the relationship of trust and confidence between her and her employer is damaged beyond repair.

Like Nigel, Rachel has a decision to make. Will she stay and suffer? Will she find another job and then resign? Or can she make a claim against the company for unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal? Importantly, what does her contract say? (That last question is key.)

Carol had a job share she loved, working at a small business where she alternated one week on, one week off, with another employee. She found that she was doing the lion’s share of the work, but was so dedicated to the job that she carried on without complaining. She would even bring in fresh flowers and artworks to decorate the office, and used her own money to buy toilet roll when they ran out, or to replace lightbulbs. She never made an expenses claim to recoup her costs.

Her satisfaction was in knowing that she was really good at her work, and providing a superb service to the customers. However, a time came when Carol was off sick for a long period. Her line manager didn’t do the usual check-ins to see how she was doing and to ease her return to work when she was ready. Rather, he kept hassling her about returning until she was so stressed that her doctor recommended she shouldn’t go back.

She didn’t resign, but her employer refused to pay any more sick pay while she was off.

In all those imagined scenarios, the situation is complex and emotional. To see if our answer to the questions match yours, please read to the end of this article.

Look at it from the other perspective

Employers don’t usually want decent employees to leave. Recruitment is a hassle and a cost. It costs them way more to replace good people than it does to keep them. And they have to stress of filling your empty seat when you’re gone.

What’s more, good employers want their people to be happy. It costs them time, money and emotional energy to deal with complaints from miserable staff.

In return for the work you agree to do for your employer, they have to give you a safe and constructive working environment, and to pay you as arranged at the start and in any reviews. (We’re over-simplifying, but broadly, that’s the deal.)

Understanding this helps give you leverage when you negotiate with them to get what you want.

As employment lawyers, we help employees negotiate with employers all the time, so our clients have a better chance of changing things for the better at work, or of getting the settlement pay-off they deserve.

What was agreed?

Whatever’s in writing is key.

Both you and your employer have to be clear about what they expect from you and what you can expect from them. It should be taken down in writing and signed by both parties. Any changes should also be in writing and agreed by both sides.

Whatever’s agreed, you’ll find in your employment contract and/or staff handbook – that’s the first place to look.

In reality, employees are sometimes asked to do a bit more than their job description. Often, that’s fine. But if there’s a conflict at work, employees can choose to stick to the letter of what’s written down – this is sometimes called ‘working to rule’ or ‘quiet quitting’.

Keep records

If what your employer writes is important as explained above, what you write also counts, especially when things go wrong at work.

That’s why you should keep written evidence of exactly who said (or emailed/messaged) what and when. Make a written diary, as memories can fade over time and you need an accurate record of dates and details. Make a good job of it! The more thoroughly you do so, the more ammunition your employment lawyer has to support you, and the more seriously your case will be taken by the employment tribunal if your case goes that far.

“I want to leave my job.” How to resign

Resigning is a serious consideration. One week you get up and go to your usual workplace. Your usual commute. Your usual colleagues.

You work out your notice period. You leave.

The next week, you don’t have a job to go to. You don’t have a salary to look forward to. You don’t have to get up with the alarm clock. Everything is different. You can sit in coffee shops or watch daytime TV all day, or you can get on the job-hunting circuit.

Even when you do get a new job, you risk the insecurity of being ‘last in, first out’. You have to learn a load of new systems and processes, and get to know all the new people.

It’s not easy.

We’re used to dealing with the sensitivities of any employment law situation, and are here to help whenever you need us. So do give us a call if you’re planning to leave your job, and we’ll let you know what options apply in your specific situation.

In the stories at the start of this article, Nigel probably doesn’t have a strong case to take to Tribunal. He can wait it out in the hope of redundancy, resign whenever he wants or we could attempt to open up negotiations. On the other hand, Rachel and Carol may have grounds to resign and take a case for constructive dismissal. Both would benefit from legal support to enable them to negotiate a deal or for advice on the next steps.

Further reading: “I want to leave my job”

want to quit your job?For more information, all in one place, please download our PDF guide “Want to quit your job?”

You might also like to read our related articles, which include:

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