I recently had one of my Virtual Assistants leave us. This person hadn’t been with us for years but had become an integral member of the team. They were well liked and most importantly, respected. The quality of their work was usually quite good and I had put much planning into their growth with us.
In the lead up to their departure, a few warning signs had begun to show. Previously reliable attendance had become a little erratic. Notification of absences were a bit hit or miss. It was clear that something was wrong but despite our efforts, we could not find out the reason behind the change in behaviour. But that is actually ok. These things happen.
But the sad part in all this was that our trusted colleague never resigned. In what can be compared to “suicide by cop”, I got the sense that this person was waiting for us to do the dirty work for them and terminate them. Each absence got longer. The reasons for the absence less concrete. Out of genuine concern, we held on longer than we should have but in the end we were forced to act.
But why did it have to be that way at all?
After all, we were actually very happy with the VA’s performance until the change in behaviour. And we were committed to helping the staff member with whatever we could do – that’s part of the family culture we have worked hard to build within the team.
I have had to resign myself to the fact that this staff member was not able to resign from their employment with us and therefore, chose to depart through disappearing and leaving the clean up to the remaining team. Whilst sad, these things happen.
But what would have been the flipside, had the staff member approached us to resign? For a start, the termination could have been amicable. For example, it could have resulted in the door being left open for re-employment when the staff member was in a better place. But it could also have led to an exploration of the underlying problem that may have removed the need for a resignation at all.
For all the Virtual Assistants out there, here are some golden rules for resigning from a role:
- Be upfront – if you need to resign, let your employer know about it. You do not need to provide a lot of detail but most employers will respect the courtesy shown if you are clear about your intentions.
- Be honest – if there is a problem in the workplace, try and give the employer an opportunity to resolve it first. As an employer, I always try and resolve staff performance issues before acting and therefore, it would be ideal to have the same approach if the employee had an issue in the workplace.
- Give notice as early as possible – providing your employer time to plan a replacement for you is a courtesy that will be appreciated.
- Formalise – send through a clear, formal email outlining your resignation including dates. Show gratitude and be professional. Telling an employer on a Skype chat is a nice start but should always be followed up formally.
If your client becomes aggressive or angry, at least you know you have done the right thing and attempted to address the situation positively and professionally.
But when a staff member resigns to me, aside from being sad to lose a valuable member of the team, I will usually be grateful for the respect shown. This usually keeps the door open for re-hiring at a later date too.
Do you need any advice on how to exit your current role? Hit me up in the comments below and I will certainly get in touch.