“How should I tell my mentor and HR I want to resign after one month?”

Question: I just read your article about resigning from a good company. I have been given an opportunity in another company, but I have only worked at this company for one month. My mentor had been pretty helpful in assisting me into my present role. So much so, he had great plans for me. But I see myself not being able to fulfill this position, as the time goes by. 

And now I want to resign to move on to my new position. I’m not sure how I should put this news forward to my mentor and my HR department. 



Answer: Dear Clarence: Though I don’t know too much about your relation with your mentor, it is because I consider mentor relationships to be so very valuable that I always encourage people to treat such situations with the utmost of care. Here are my thoughts:       

1. First, are you really certain that your present position will not – and cannot – work out well? So much of my professional law and counseling practice concerns people in employment transitions, that is, “Going in, going up, and going out.” Whenever I represent or counsel a client going into a new job, I try to keep in touch with him or her for a while to assess how they are doing, and what might help during the early transition phase. I can tell you from my experience that sometimes early impressions are wrong impressions, and often change over time. “New shoes cause more sore feet than do old pairs.” I caution you that you may be in a difficult first month of transition. Given time, given flexibility, and given some guidance and coaching, this present job just might work out well, if given the chance. Keep that in mind.   

2. In fact, you seem to be facing the fairly common anxiety and self-doubt of “I won’t be able to fulfill my responsibilities.” Perhaps far more often than people imagine, new hires face serious self-doubts, and fears of failure, which are essentially what you have expressed. When reading your note, I first noticed that you are not complaining about the workload, or the pay, or a difficult boss, but only of seeing yourself as not being able to fulfill the job responsibilities of your position  you now face. Don’t forget that fears of failure are often self-defeating, and that fears of failure are a primary cause of failure. I ask you to consider the old saying, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, either way, you are right.” Sure, every one of us has faced these fears, and they say that the very best actors and athletes all have these fears daily . . . but convince themselves not to focus on negativity, but to focus instead on positives on their side and successes they will achieve. They visualize themselves winning the gold medal, not failing to finish the race. And, in this way, often take home that very gold medal they envision. 

3. This new-job anxiety can be compounded by the special concerns mentees often have for disappointing their mentors, but a heart-to-heart talk with your mentor may be the precise “medicine” you now need. Mentor-mentee relations are special in how uncommon they are, in how valuable they may be, and in how carefully they need to be handled. Sometimes having a mentor relation puts extra pressure on a new job holder, who feels he or she must do well in a job arranged by a mentor, or suggested by a mentor, or it would be an insult or reflect negatively on the mentor. In this way, having a mentor relation can be a kind of extra burden, and lead to exactly the self-doubt you seem to be feeling. 

Keep in mind that, ironically, it is very likely that your mentor is the best person in the world to discuss what you are facing, though you may fear doing so, for he or she may have insights about (a) you, (b) your company, (c) your job, (d) your future, and, too, (e) a strong desire to see you succeed, all of the very best things you may need to relieve your anxiety, self-doubts and fears.     

4. Consider, too, that “The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.” Clarence, one of my concerns is that you will have on your resume a very short period of employment with your present employer; what happens if the same thing takes place at your next employer? Two short duration jobs may make you appear quiet unstable, even though other events and circumstances may be to blame. So very often I find my clients have run away from the “frying pan” only to find themselves “in the fire.” So very often, people actually fantasize that “the next job is surely going to be better,” and quite often they are wrong. Don’t forget that in your next job you may have the exact same fears and anxieties that you now have, only you may have a very difficult time explaining that to other prospective employers in the future. 

5. If you decide to make the move, (a) speak to your mentor informally first, and (b) in writing to HR only after you have confirmed your next job in writing. Discussion of what is on your mind should take place, first, with your mentor, in private, and with candor. Then, if he or she has spoken, and you have listened well and given what they say real thought, with all due respect, and you decide to leave anyway, then your next step would be to notify your Human Resources representative, preferably in writing, with care and precision. As you may know, resigning is a rather complicated thing to do if you do it well, with many things to consider, do and remember.  

Perhaps the most important thing to make sure you do is to confirm in writing the important details of your next job with your next employer, to reduce risks that you and they are not in agreement even on some of the basics. Only after written confirmation of basics of your new job, should you present a signed resignation to Human Resources at your present job.  

For great info and insight, consider viewing our 12-minute Sklover-On-Demand Video entitled “Resigning from Your Job: What To Do, How to Do It.” To do so, simply [click here.]   

We also offer a complete list of letters, memos and our 100-Point Checklist for Resigning in our “Ultimate Resignation Package,” available to you by just [clicking here.]    

Clarence, I hope this is helpful to you. I wish you the best in considering what to do, and then doing what it is you decide is best for you. 

Al Sklover

P.S.: With your possible new job in mind, one of our most popular “Ultimate Packages” of forms, letters and checklists is entitled “Ultimate New Job Package” consisting of 9 items, including Resume Cover Letter, Thank You After Interview, Memo Confirming Terms Offered, Response to Offer Letter, our Master Checklist of Items to Negotiate, and 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Departure from Your Last Job. To obtain a complete set, just [click here.]

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