Salute to Spouses Blog

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Make Your PCS Resignation a Win-Win

Resignation can be tricky when it’s time for you to PCS. On one hand, you want to give your employer plenty of time to advertise, interview, hire and train your replacement. On the other hand, you don’t want to set off a series of events that gives him or her excuses to let you go sooner than you are ready. And quite honestly, you never know how an employer will take the news until you deliver it.

“I recently had an employer who let me go just a few weeks after finding out that I would be moving to Rhode Island with my husband this summer,” said Army wife Kat Elwell. “I personally did not think this would happen to me because the university I work for has a non-discrimination policy against military spouses, but it was a great reminder that being let go after giving notice can happen anytime, to anyone.”

So while it’s easy to get caught up in planning everything around making the situation easy on your employer, do yourself a favor and plan for your professional and personal well-being in the process. Here are five ways to create a win-win situation for you and for your employer.

Give Plenty of Notice

Most times you will have an idea when your PCS is nearing. Have a meeting with your employer to discuss the possibility three to six months in advance, depending upon how critical your position is to your department’s operation. Use the opportunity to hear his or her concerns and to show that you intend to alleviate the ones you can. Think about what those concerns might be and present ideas for how you will handle them. You can give written notice later on as a follow up when you are surer of the actual PCS date.

“As we all know though, even once your service member has orders, those can sometimes change, so spouses should keep the lines of communication open with their employers," Elwell said.

Find Your Replacement

Nothing will lighten your employer’s stress more than knowing your departure won’t leave her short-handed. So, while networking to find your next job, you should also network to find your replacement. Look around you for internal leads. Has anyone expressed interest in your work? Is there a co-worker or intern who has or could impress the boss? Then, look for external prospects by asking colleagues outside the company for referrals. If the new person is brought onboard while you are still there, offer to train her to ensure a smooth transition.

Tie Up Loose Ends

Nobody knows the ins and outs of your day-to-day work better than you do, so you’d also be the best person to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. One great way to tie up the loose ends is to think back to when you first started the job. What processes or procedures have changed since then? Was there a desk guide in place? If there isn’t one now, create it. If there is one now, update it.

Don’t Overcommit Yourself

Avoid taking on too much extra work, out of guilt that you are leaving the job. Don’t start new projects or lead them. Leave yourself room for time off when you have appointments, when the movers come and when you have other PCS tasks. Effectively balancing your schedule and your workload will go a long way in making your manager comfortable that you have everything under control.

Be positive

“My best advice is to stay positive, smile and try to keep it light. If you are dreading giving notice and you wear that on your face, the employer will assume it is a negative situation,” Elwell said. “Saying thank you or expressing gratitude can never be interpreted badly, and often it makes a long-lasting impression.”

When all is said and done, your goal is to give proper attention to the personal side of PCS and still make sure you have set yourself up on the professional side for a glowing letter of recommendation, a job reference and ultimately, your next job.

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