I wrote an article in June 2021 on the importance of leaving and exiting a company on a good note. Fast forward one year later, and this is still as relevant as ever. When one leaves an organisation, somehow or rather, there is a negative connotation or nuance pegged to it. Managers would ask: “You are not happy?” or “You cannot stay for the department?” It is somewhat a negative yet liberating experience.
According to Mr Melvin Yong, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, in 2019, about 850 local nurses resigned from the public healthcare sector each year. The average resignation rate for that period was 6.0%, and has definitely increased after the storm that was COVID. In 2021, the numbers further spiked with 7.4% of local nurses leaving the workforce as mentioned by Ms Rahayu Mahzam.
Many reasons contribute to the resignation of nurses from their place of practice, with workplace culture and wages being some of them. I am not an expert or a certified career coach. However, I am sharing/imploring this article from experience, reading materials, and honest opinions. Here are some pointers that may help you tide through the resignation phase because the last thing I want is for you not to find solace after throwing the white envelope.
1. Ask yourself why
We may have come at the crossroads several times in our careers. Sometimes, these events are brimmed with emotions that may hinder our ability to make calculated, objective and rational decisions.
It is crucial to make a thorough and objective analysis of the situation to avoid stumbling into an unfavourable position. Ikigai, which means ‘reason for being' - focuses on identifying your purpose and may help in your decision making process. Finding your ikigai is about identifying the four elements that encompass it - knowing what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at and what you can get paid for.
When these four elements meet, you will unravel your purpose. However, finding your ikigai is a journey. Therefore, the answers will vary and evolve at different parts of your life. You may read an article I wrote on Ikigai here.
“Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness.”
- Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life.
A more ‘immediate’ tool to see if you should make the change in your current position is to adopt the framework by Apoorva Govind.
She recommends to use this framework by asking yourself a series of questions with variable metrics every 3 months:
Accomplishment: Have I done anything noteworthy these last three months?
Impact: Is there anything valuable I have done that I could write in my resume, pertinent to my future plans?
Growth/Future alignment: Have I acquired valuable insights or skills? Are these skills aligned with my future goals?
Challenge: Have there been days when I was thinking about a work problem that irks and I really need to solve it ?
Community: Am I excited and happy to go to work every morning and see my teammates. Do I believe in the mission, vision, and leadership of this team or company?
Source: Apoorva Govind
If you score 40% or below, it may be time to re-evaluate your plans, as this would be a sign that your job is not meeting the metrics. Note that the tools mentioned above are ways you can navigate making decisions for your career. Suppose you have other priorities, e.g., financial and family responsibilities, to consider. In that case, I feel that those should be the leading factor in helping you decide what works for you.
Knowing your 'why' holds the utmost importance in making decisions. A new environment may seem accommodating and ideal. However, if it does not resonate with your 'why, the chances of dissatisfaction and resentment would naturally creep in again.
2. Explore options
Exploring and understanding your options may come before you ask your “whys”. You may have encountered a myriad of opportunities, but your situation was not fitting then. Knowing what is available out there will aid in your decision-making, and by knowing, it is best to know the said opportunity as much as you can. The job description, working hours, typical career progression, workplace culture, company benefits, etc.
Naturally, we would look for something familiar and comfortable, and that is all right. It is only human for us to seek comfort in familiarities. But I would recommend that we go beyond our comfort zones to open more doors for opportunities. This may expose you to other industries and businesses that require nurses as part of their business functions.
Do not rush and give yourself time to understand other options that are available. The last thing you would want is to be in an industry/position you regret signing up for.
3. Be tactful, objective and sincere
Should you finally decide to move on to new pastures after a long, well-thought-out, calculated analysis of your situation - the next phase would actually be informing your reporting officer (RO) aka your boss.
Remember to thank your managers for the opportunity the organisation has given you. One way or another, you would have picked up new skills during your time in the organisation, been exposed to new procedures, courses, etc. Most importantly, be objective in what you need to say, and leave negative emotions aside (as much as you would want to let it all out, trust me - don't).
After the deed is done, your RO would naturally convince you to rethink your choice, which is somewhat expected. Otherwise, I believe your ROs should naturally be happy for you, especially if your reason for leaving is to seek new challenges. A good manager would want to see their team members, then and now, grow within and beyond the organisation.
Most importantly, leave those bridges open and leave on a positive note. As sometimes, you may want to seek advice or guidance from your previous managers with extensive experience. Furthermore, our previous colleagues and managers may also end up being future ones. Our emotions sometimes get the best of us, especially after parting with an unpleasant experience. Therefore we must sieve our thoughts and remain objective throughout the process. You will never know, future opportunities could come from them and vice versa.
Introducing Worq Health:
If you are still unsure of where you would be headed to but see a need to move on from your institution, engaging yourself in locum/ad-hoc nursing would be the best bet.
Worq Health is a platform that connects nurses with flexible shift hours at competitive rates. The essence of this platform is to empower nurses to take control of their schedules and find shifts that fulfil their needs, preferences, and suitability, while also contributing to healthcare institutions' staffing challenges.
Signing up is simple because Worq Health is integrated with Singpass. It takes less than a minute to create a profile, and the nurse is ready to start looking for shifts and earning extra kopi money within 72 hours. In terms of work assignments, Worq Health can link nurses to eligible assignments on their platform, with transparent rates and streamlined communication, as opposed to traditional methods in which a nurse may have to communicate with multiple recruiters for different assignments.
If you ask me, it sounds relatively simple, and puts the 'ma fan-ness' at bay!
With the flexibility of time as a locum nurse, you can continue to scout for a permanent position while ensuring your bankroll stays healthy.
I hope the pointers will be helpful in your decision-making process and remember that all these tools serve as guidance. The outcome would vary from one individual to the other, and nothing is set in stone. Your decision is ultimately your own. Do not be disheartened by any negative remarks encountered during this process because you know yourself best.
Take care, and all the best!