Resignation Soon After a Business Trip

A question to the Workplace Doctors:  How can I give my resignation soon after an expensive business trip? 

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Hello! I’ve been thinking and saving up so I can leave my job and move to another city at the end of this year. I’m very close to my goal amount, and I’ve been planning for this for a while now.

This month I was chosen to join a business presentation and to attend trade shows for a week in our head office in Japan, and everything was charged to the company. I had no choice but to go, and needless to say the trip didn’t really made me change my mind about resigning at the end of the year – it even made work stressful when I got back.

I checked our company policies and didn’t see anything about obligations after a business trip. I did not sign any bonding contract about the trip except for visa papers. I’m afraid that they will  refuse my resignation since I’m quitting right after I went overseas and they paid for everything, even if I still plan to stay for 3 more months. Or worse, they might make me pay for the trip. Should I be worried about giving my resignation soon after this business trip?

Response from the Workplace Doctors:

Unless you signed a contract related to reimbursing for travel costs, the most likely scenario is that those who sent you to Japan may regret sending you instead of someone else. But, that kind of situation is a reality in business. If your company is large enough to have international offices, they probably can handle the expense and are accustomed to doing so. Executive level employees routinely have much more money spent on travel and expenses than was spent on your trip to Japan, but no one expects them to pay back the money when they leave.

Since you are quitting in a few months, consider leaving in a way that will be more positive for you and for your employer. (You may already have thought of these things, but I’ll mention them as a reinforcement.) Go above what would be required to get things ready for the next person. Develop a transition file on your computer as well as hard copy, that can be used as part of training for the person who takes your place, even if that person is already working in the section or unit. If there were some “lessons learned” from your Japan visit, list those.

Make the Japan expenditure profitable for the company. If you worked while you were there, it already was worthwhile for them, but perhaps you can add a bit more. Put yourself in the place of the next person and make their first few weeks easier through your prep work.

When you tell your manager or supervisor and HR that you are leaving, tell them what you have already done to make the transition easier and ask if there are specific things they would like for you to do. Don’t apologize for giving your resignation soon after a business trip. Just show that although you are leaving, your work ethics are still strong and you appreciate the opportunities you had in the company. That won’t guarantee that your immediate manager and supervisor are pleasant at the last, but it will make it more likely.

When I was a manager in an office that had occasional employee changes of that nature, I recall how some employees left in a way that made us glad to have them gone while others kept the goodwill of everyone. I’m sure that is your goal.

Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know how the situation works out for you.

Tina Rowe
Ask the Workplace Doctors