How can I be a better remote employee?

globe and mailTHE QUESTION

I’ve been working for the same employer for eight years and I have a great relationship with my boss. He has promoted me several times and believes in my skills. I manage a team of six people as a department director, but I miss the simplicity of my former role as an analyst. I plan to quit my job and start a career as a freelance consultant. My industry is very small so I want to keep on good terms with my current company and do freelance work for them. But I don’t think my boss is going to take it well. What’s the best way for me to approach this resignation?


Congratulations on plans for starting your own consultancy practice! You have flourished at the company, under the support of a great leader. Set a meeting with your boss before you give notice to anyone. Explain to him that, at least partially, due to his direction and support you are going to make this exciting change. And, it would mean the world to you for him to give you his support and for you to continue working together to continue to make great things happen.

If he is not as supportive as you would like, be prepared to outline to him how you came to make the decision. Give specific examples of how his guidance assisted you in preparing for this move. Ask him if he would be willing to act as a mentor in the early stages of your self employment. Tell him you know it is difficult when people move on, but you know he will hire someone good to replace you.

If it is appropriate, offer to help recruit your own replacement. Chances are he won’t ask you to, but if made in good faith, that may help buffer the blow somewhat. The role of a great manager is to build strong individuals and teams, so they look good and the employees flourish and grow. Please don’t feel guilty, people leave jobs. This is business, this is not personal. Successful employees are an extension of strong leaders.

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