So you’re finally quitting your job? Most people I know have quit their investment banking job after all from one to five years. Learn which mistakes not to make and how to quit your investment banking job.
I’ve had several conversations with friends who have been counting down the days until they can finally resign.
It’s a joyous occasion. All the built-up anger and resentment from forced all-nighters caused by bad project management. Or from the screaming matches over a misplaced comma in a power point presentation.
Quitting is revenge enough
Quitting is the resurrection. It’s payback time. You know your team is most likely going to struggle without you, and they will finally realize how much you contributed.
All of that is fine, and it’s ok to gloat on the inside. But do yourself a favor and try to not make it worse for them than it already is.
Resigning is message enough. Don’t make yourself unemployable later by being a dick to the people you leave behind.
You probably know that you’ll never go back and work for the same employer again. But you’ll most likely work with the same people somewhere else. People move around. In banking more than anywhere else.
Your bosses, your peers, or the people below you. They’ll pop up in all sorts of places later where you might need them. The analyst you were bossing around at 2 AM may end up being a client or a counterparty later. Playing nice always pays off in the end.
Consider why you are leaving
How you should approach quitting also depends on why you’re leaving in the first place, and what your plans are next.
1. Are you just plain quitting without any plan?
Know if you want your boss to help you get another position somewhere else.
If that’s the case, try telling your boss earlier that you may want to try something else in the near future, and hear his opinion first. If he has time to replace you, he will likely be more eager to help you. And if you ease him into it, you can always take it back if you sense he isn’t friendly.
2. Are you open to staying if your boss ups your salary?
It will likely happen if your team is pressed at the moment, and you have a more senior position. Maybe one of the reasons you’re quitting in the first place is that you feel you’re not compensated fairly. Getting another offer and leveraging that is a pretty good way of receiving a hefty salary bump.
If that’s not why you’re leaving, don’t get tempted by discussing numbers. You will only seem difficult if you stay to hear what you’re worth and then still leave.
3. Are you going to a client or a competitor?
This will affect how they will treat you when you leave. If you’re going to a potential client, you’ll be carried out on a gold chair. If you’re going to a competitor, read the “bad leaver” paragraphs of this article to figure out what to do. It won’t be pretty.
Do it in person and in writing
Be a nice person and give your boss a heads up before sending an email. But even if you do that, always send a short, official notice to your boss and HR so you have a proof with a date stamp.
An unruly boss who needs resources may pretend he never heard you, and you may be forced to stay there longer because the official resignation wasn’t given within the appropriate timeframe.
After you’ve told the boss, it’s time to tell your work friends if you haven’t already. Of course, if you’re not escorted out. Don’t let them hear it in the weekly catch-up meeting.
Tell colleagues before you quit or not?
I’ve seen people do both. If you’re telling others before you resign, at least consider this: Never tell them until you know that you’re actually leaving.
Do you want to quit, but haven’t secured the right job offer yet? Don’t tell anyone. The offer may come later than you thought, and you end up staying longer.
Any rumors going around about you quitting may give you a lower bonus, no chance of promotion, or it can get you fired.
Work or garden leave?
When you resign, you usually have a clause in your contract saying when you can leave the company. Most of the time, you’re required to work one to three months after the end of the month you quit.
If you leave on good terms, you can often negotiate an earlier stop if you want to get a head start in your new job. If not, you may end up in a situation where you’re locked up for several months.
You may be asked to work throughout the resignation period. If you are, make sure to take out all the holiday you have. this gives you some much-needed vacation between jobs.
The company may want you to work through the entire period even if you have saved-up vacation days. Consider doing this if you have a lot of locked-in bonus from previous years. You may get to keep parts of it if you’re considered a “good leaver”. Otherwise, just don’t. A particularly sneaky boss my lure this bonus over your head, and then not give it to you even if you skipped your vacation o finish a deal. Take time off.
Especially take time if you know you are a “bad leaver”. The comfiest option is when you’re given a long garden leave. This is when you’re not allowed to start working for your new firm, but your old firm doesn’t want you in the office.
Celebrate the garden leave! The only sure fire way to get a proper holiday when you’re a banker.
The bad leaver route
If you’re going to a competitor, the road to exit will look a lot more challenging.
Anything you want to do on a project on your computer must be done before you resign. You’ll likely be blocked from the IT system within minutes. This includes your laptop and your work phone.
Delete everything private, and make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
Also read the rules of your non-compete carefully. Your boss may try to fool you into thinking you can’t start a new job within a certain period. This may be true if it’s in the contract, but they still have to pay for it. If you’re not getting your salary covered, they usually can’t keep you from starting somewhere new.
Timing is everything
This is something parents should teach young girls in pre-school already. Always. ALWAYS. Leave. After. Your. Bonus. Is. On. Your. Account.
If not, be prepared to walk away from it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gotten the numbers from your boss already and you think it’s yours. If it’s not on the account yet, they can take it away. And they will.
Also look out for bonuses with a lock-up. I’ve had one myself, and although I was always promised that I would get it when I left if I followed all the rules and didn’t compete with the bank, that wasn’t true.
As a key take away, try to remember that quitting is a sensitive subject, because people may feel rejected. Don’t trust anyone, and get everything in writing.