I’ve had enough… I’m resigning

It’s the time of year most popular for emotionally charged resignations. Built up into a frenzy of indignation, outrage or hostility about work during an overly indulgent and alcohol fuelled ‘festive’ period, come early January there is often a frenzy of resignations with staff vowing this is the time they take back control of their destiny: I’m going self employed… I’m going to find an employer who cares… I’m not going to be worked to death anymore… I’m going to get a job that will give me better work/life balance…

But, as the ‘nasty’, ‘uncaring’, ‘over demanding’ employer on the receiving end of these resignations, should you try to change their minds? Beg them to stay? Tell them how valued they are?

Not so long ago, I saw a comedian doing a skit about a husband who started off adoring everything about his wife, but who, 20 years later, admitted to being insanely irritated and incensed by just the sound of her breathing!  That irrational irritation with another human being ring any bells with any of you?

All of us can easily develop a state of illogical, seething  emotion causing us to feel that nothing the other person does will ever be good enough or even remotely acceptable. The good is simply not seen or heard and only the bad registers in our consciousness. And so too it is with employers.

Once the moaning, complaining and hostility starts, there are only three possible outcomes:

  1. Resignation after a slow build over months or even years of irritation and outrage.
  2. Dismissal after a slow decline over months or even years into bad attitude and low performance.
  3. A working environment for all that is utter misery due to the employee not resigning and the employer not sacking. Stalemate.

Of course, resignation is the best possible outcome for the employer. Certainly a lot less hassle and aggravating than dismissing a truculent employee. Plus several pieces of research over the years have established that even if as a responsible, caring employer you try to turn it around and get your employee to stay, something like 80% will still have left within 6 months (12 if you are lucky).


  • Want to offer a bigger salary to persuade them to stay? Don’t bother.
  • Want to appease them with a new job title? Don’t bother.
  • Want to flatter their egos by telling them they are more valued than others? Don’t bother.

For whatever you do, they’ve now told all their family and mates you’re the big bad wolf so they’re going to look pretty silly if they turn around and admit that life isn’t so horrible at work after all. And once the 24 hour euphoria of a salary increase, job change or bonus has worn off they are still going to get irritated whenever you walk through the door and hear you breathe!

Best let them go, as we all need a change of scenery from time to time to keep us fresh and contented. But, if they were a good employee before the itchy feet and irritation set in, let them know the door is open for them to return in a year in two, if the grass turns out not to be greener after all.

Comments, thoughts, ideas anyone? Please do contribute…

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