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Retracting your Resignation

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 7 Sep 2022

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When you’ve finally found a job you like the sound of and hand in your resignation at work, it can feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Job seeking takes a lot of hard work and the relief to be able to relax for a while starts to settle in.

But sometimes, the notice period doesn’t go as planned and you can start to feel regretful of what you have done. You’ve changed your mind and think the new job isn’t what you wanted and are thinking about retracting your resignation. Can you do this and how do you even go about it?

Start by really thinking about why you have changed your mind

What has led you to start feeling regret and a sudden urge to stay in your current job? Is it the fact that you’ve been handed more duties, you’ve started to appreciate the job you had when it’s about to get taken away or are you just feeling really nervous about what is it come?

There can be many reasons for wanting to leave a job, but also many to lead you to feel comfortable and want you to keep your current role. Sometimes, in a notice period, yourself and colleagues may start to see your actual value and give you more duties. This can be in aid to help get everything finished before your final day or even to persuade you to stay! Either way, it can lead to nervous feelings and worrying you’ve made a mistake. Especially if you’ve found yourself enjoying your job in your notice period.

However, the idea of retracting your resignation can even seem like a better idea than starting something new. We all like to feel comfortable and stepping outside of our comfort zone can really cause us to feel nervous and regretful. But take some time to think about whether this is a regretful feeling or just nerves. Ask yourself why you started a job search in the first place. Are you going to stay in an unhappy job for the sake of feeling comfortable?

These are only questions you can answer. Take time before doing anything you might, again, regret later.

The employer may try to keep you

Sometimes, when you hand in a resignation letter, it can be a shock to the line manager and other colleagues. After all, you’re there for a reason and if valued, they’re going to be shorthanded. They may try and persuade you to stay with incentives like an increase in salary, flexible working and an increase in duties. (If that’s the reason you were leaving)

It’s not unusual to your manager to ask why you are leaving and if you can be swayed, it’s important to be honest. If you have a better salary offering elsewhere then tell them that. It might just be the push they needed to offer you what you feel you’re worth.

If this happens and you think you’d prefer to stay, you can write a letter to retract your resignation on the agreeing terms. Make sure you keep notes of what they offer you and records of what was said and when. This way, you can reference it in your resignation retraction letter.

It’s vital that you keep a good level of communication with your line manager during this time and your HR department. They can ensure you that what you are doing is correct and if there is anything else you need to do.

You think you made a mistake

Things change, ideas change and ultimately, as humans we do tend to change our minds. This is all okay and normal. A big change can cause us to realise what we had and now we don’t want to lose it.

As soon as you make the decision to stay, you need to keep a clear line of communication. Tell your line manager and the HR team straight away. Once you have told them informally, construct a letter and explain why you want to keep your role. It’s a good idea to collect evidence as to why you want to stay employed and why they would benefit from this.

Sometimes, employers will start the search for a new candidate straight away which costs both time and money. So, there can be tensions when trying to retract your resignation. Tell them why your circumstances have changed and why you are a good employee and they’d be lucky to keep you!

Only do this if you are 100% sure you want to keep your job because going back and forth can burn bridges which is not what you want to do.

Do they have to accept my retraction?

Unfortunately, once you have handed in your resignation and agreed on an end date, your employer is under no obligation to keep you employed if you change your mind.

Whether they have started the recruitment process or there are other factors, your employer can say no. If this happens, there is ultimately, nothing you can do. You can continue to communicate with HR and your line manager, but if all fails, you are obliged to work your notice and then leave.

It’s not often that someone hands in their notice and then retracts it, but there are circumstances in which this happens. Be prepared to listen to any offers the employer may give you and seriously consider them. If you don’t and want to retract at a later date, this might not work in your favour.