**Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. **
The first time won’t be easy. You’re contemplating every second of the day, replaying the variety of scenarios over-and-over again in your head. It consumes every moment of your life, while eating, working, exercising, commuting, and hanging out with your friends on any given night. It haunts you as you lay in bed struggling to descend into a deep slumber. Every day you search online for the “dos-and-don’ts,” for email, letter, and conversation examples to use on the day. You beg for other people’s confirmations that you are making the right decision. Sometimes, your research and inquiries result in developing second thoughts. That’s normal. Your hands tremble and legs jitter, and you begin to feel the surface of your skin palpating from the ebb and flow of nerves rushing through your body. You start to panic. Maybe, I am making a mistake, you ask yourself, repeatedly, as your mind slowly veers to the point where reconsidering seems like a good option. You know there is no better option, and the voice in your head keeps telling you that this is the right decision; you must leave this god-forsaken place, run and never look back! But, another whisper, deep in the crevices of your mind, tries to convince you to stay put for the fear of future regrets. You want it to go away, but it pesters you all day, telling you to just deal with it, as there is no “perfect” job for anybody in this world and this is the life you’re meant to live. Yet, you are adamant about leaving, because you fully understand that one more day, week, or month, would not change the status quo, and you recognize that once you do leave that bottomless pit, your friends, but most importantly, your family, will no longer need to endure that malignant and toxic personality that was caused from all the unhappiness you’ve endured. From the faces of those I cherished most, I knew it was time for me to leave.
Resigning. It is never easy. Particularly the first time, the one you will forever remember.
Most likely, you were experiencing all kinds of feelings and conflicting emotions. Majority of the time its pure nervousness, as the consequences are ambiguous, and your manager’s reactions are unknown. Sometimes, these feelings are at odds with one another, because there is excitement to move on to the next stages of your career, but there is reluctance to resign due to fear of hurting your manager’s feelings. This is natural, a normal human quality.
I was both excited and afraid on my first resignation. Excited to try something different, but afraid to hurt Miguel’s feelings. And this fear of hurting my manager’s feeling, was unanticipated.
You see, Miguel never treated me like one of his other analysts. I always felt as if he was counting the days until I messed up greatly. In his eyes, I did not belong in his team, and was not worthy enough to have the Market Risk Analyst title.
Still, I knew that giving my resignation letter at a time when RBS dealt with a massive sell-off, was going to heavily affect the team. Miguel was infamous around the office for having short expiration dates on his analysts. Two other analysts had already quit the week before, and me leaving the company would add to his infamy. For some reason, I didn’t want to be another tally.
But, I had to do it. I had to leave. So, I immediately started looking for my next job, and ended up accepting a role in the management consulting industry.
As soon as I received the official offer letter, I had a set date in mind for my resignation. It would take place on a Monday, early in the morning, right when Miguel arrives at the office, when RBS’ trading floor is quiet, empty, and desolate.
As I was writing my resignation letter, I wanted to say so much. I wanted to say exactly how unhappy I felt. I wanted to tell him that I truly gave it my all to prove to him, and the group, that I belonged. I wanted to tell him that there was no reason for him to treat me as an outsider, since we are both Hispanic, and as Hispanics, it’s in our blood to treat each other as family. I wanted to yell in this resignation letter, tell him that when he insulted me on the trading floor in front of others, I did not run, and I stood my ground, because I truly wanted to learn and be an asset on his team.
But I refrained from all the negativity. I decided to keep it simple, and let him know that I was grateful for the opportunity to be on the team, and that I was indebted to the company for providing the building blocks for my career.
The Monday arrived. It was a gloomy morning. I got in at 6:30am. The trading floor was quiet, dark and dismal, as the sun was still below the horizon. Right before Miguel sat at his desk, I asked him if we could chat before he started his daily routines. We sat in one of the glass-laden conference rooms on the trading floor.
“Gerome, actually, I am glad you came into work early today,” Miguel said, as he handed me a letter. “I want to give you this, as you have been doing a great job. I know due to unfortunate circumstances with your other teammates leaving RBS, you have increasingly been given more responsibilities and now take on a heavier workload. That letter has your new salary details.”
I quickly skimmed the letter, and was shocked to see a 15% increase in salary. Did he know I was planning on resigning? I sensed this was a ploy to ensure I stick it out longer, as the number of analysts in the group dwindled over the prior weeks, and they couldn’t afford to lose more people.
The letter made the resignation much more difficult. The increase in salary was appealing. I was on the verge of changing my mind, but as soon as I saw the smirk on his face, the same smirk he had when he told me “if you don’t know, then why do you sit there and look pretty,” I decided to follow my heart.
“Miguel, I am grateful for the raise. I truly am. And I am especially grateful for Alex for giving me the chance to be a part of this team.
“But I came in early today because I wanted to let you know that I am giving my resignation letter. I have accepted an offer elsewhere. Given everything that’s happening at RBS, I think it is time for me to venture out and try new things. Once again, thank you for the opportunity you and the team have given me. I will make sure to have any open items completed before departure from this bank.”
He didn’t say much after I gave him the resignation letter. Miguel asked why I wanted to leave and where I was going next. I kept it brief and said it was time for me to try new things. He gave the usual congratulatory remarks that managers give to their younglings, but he added one more comment at the end that would forever stay with me, which was that I would “deeply regret leaving to pursue something so mediocre, and an opportunity like this would never come around for you again. You will wish you were back in my team.”
I smiled, shook his hand, walked out of the glass room onto the trading floor, which was now bright and luminous, as if the sun was waiting for me to hand in that letter before it rose, and I never looked back.