Complete the Head & Heart Leader Scale™ and receive a free, personalised report here.

Got a Minute?

Home | Got a Minute | Career advice | No. 10 – I’ve been in my job for years and want to resign. How do I tell my boss?

No. 10 – I’ve been in my job for years and want to resign. How do I tell my boss?

Share this aticle

21 April 2021

Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, managing conversations before resignations, finding work as a migrant, and dealing with a cruisy colleague who won’t listen to females.

I am in my late 50s and have raised a family of four while managing a busy career. I have been doing my current, full-time role for some years and intend on resigning mid-year. I haven’t decided yet whether I will retire, take another full-time role, switch industry altogether or do contract work. My bosses are not aware of my plans and so I would love some advice on how to manage those conversations before I resign.

It sounds like you have been a loyal employee for many years and so you deserve to now do what you want to do. I would arrange to meet with your bosses as soon as you feel ready and explain your decision. You might like to let your bosses know how much you have enjoyed your time with the company but that at this stage in your career you plan on exploring a new challenge and are still working through what that might look like.

While they may be naturally disappointed to lose you, I am sure your bosses will be understanding and will be grateful for you to provide them with as much notice as possible. Assuming you are not planning to work for a direct competitor, my guess is that they will be keen to draw on your experience and expertise to help train your successor.

After that, the world is your oyster! You seem to have many different options to consider and that is a privilege to grab with both hands. Good luck!

I am a new migrant to Australia having trouble finding a job. I have a Master of Science (Microelectronics) from the national university of the country I previously lived in and I have almost a decade of career experience however I have not been able to find work in Australia. I have now completed a Certificate IV in accounting, but I have still had no success finding a job. What can I do? How do I explain my change in career in my resume?

I am sorry to hear this has been your experience and sadly it is one all too familiar for migrants to Australia. New research from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) shows that nearly one quarter of Australia’s skilled migrants are working in jobs below their qualification level. It sounds as though your skill set is one that the right employers would be excited to learn more about, but unconscious and conscious biases may be preventing you from being discovered.

Regarding your query about how to explain your change in career, the best way to do that would be to use a cover letter and be as honest as possible. I would be sure to include your previous experience as well to demonstrate the breadth of skills you have. While they may not be directly related to an accounting career, it shows you have the intellect and capacity to learn, work hard and apply yourself to any career. Good luck!

I recently returned from maternity leave and the person who took my job during that time has been offered a position to stay on. I have no issue with that, except they don’t do any work. They just cruise along and I am often having to pick up their slack. It’s exhausting. I have mentioned this to my boss countless times and provided examples where they have done no work at all. I believe they need training and help but are too arrogant to get advice or help from a female. Nothing changes. Any thoughts?

I am exhausted just thinking about your situation – there is nothing more demotivating in the workplace than colleagues who don’t pull their weight and are then held to account. And to then not accept advice because you are a woman, enough!

Given you have already spoken to your boss and they don’t seem to do anything, there seem to be some major cultural issues at play. If this is happening in your team, it is probably happening elsewhere as well.

While not the easiest advice to give, the bottom line may be that you find another place to work. Unless your boss is prepared to act, you are right, nothing will change.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

Link to original

Share this aticle
Got a Minute

Ask a Question

You can submit your own question anonymously.

Read Got a Minute

Every Wednesday since 2021, Kirstin has written a hugely popular column in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age answering curly questions from readers on work, leadership and careers. 

Latest Got a Minute

Stay in touch

Join many thousands around the world who have subscribed to Dr Kirstin Ferguson’s free weekly newsletter, Impact Loop.

As a bonus, you will receive the introduction to her award-winning and bestselling book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership, to download for free.
©2023 Kirstin Ferguson Pty Ltd
Privacy Policy