Handing in your resignation isn’t always easy. In fact, most of us dread it! It can be nerve-wrecking, it can be uncomfortable and it can be a conversational minefield. Even if you’re leaving a job you hate, you’ve still got to be careful not to lose respect and potentially a reference. When handing in your notice, you need to keep it calm, keep it calculated and keep it classy.
So, how can you quit without burning your bridges?
It should go without saying, but NEVER hand your notice in without serious consideration. Leaving a job should be a strategic decision, not an enraged reaction or an impulsive whim.
Weigh up your options and make sure you’re certain before you sign over that current job death warrant. Then prepare, prepare, prepare. Prepare what you want to say, prepare for any questions you’ll face, prepare for the possibility of a counter-offer.
This is just common courtesy. No matter what your relationship with your boss is like, the way that you resign still reflects on you as a person.
So, battle the awkwardness and talk to your employer face to face. An impersonal email or letter will only make you look dismissive and rude. Yes, a face to face resignation conversation won’t be the easiest chat you’ll ever have, but it will make you look much better.
Telling your boss that you hate them or ranting about your workload isn’t going to win you any favours in the long run. Nor is broadcasting the fact that you’re going to work for a competitor.
Remember, you’re not actually obliged to state your reasons for leaving. Use your knowledge of the employer here and be discerning. If they’d genuinely value some light constructive criticism to help retain staff, offer it. If, however, your feedback would create tension, avoid specifics altogether.
Make sure you check your contract and adhere to the notice period you agreed to. Leaving your employer high and dry will not only reflect poorly on you, it will also damage relationships across the board. Your current boss will no longer want to write you a glowing reference, your colleagues will be annoyed and future employers will suspect your reliability.
Take the high road, give your team the chance to prepare and leave under the best possible terms.
Your team deserve to know if they’re losing a valued member. As well as that, it’s plain good manners to inform your co-workers that you’re leaving. As soon as you’ve made your boss aware, have a chat with your colleagues and keep them in the loop.
Remember, these people are excellent contacts who can vouch for your work. Give them the heads-up and consider swapping personal emails so that you can stay in touch. You never know – you might even end up working together again at some point. Keep it positive!
When you started the role, you (hopefully!) would have been full of ambition and enthusiasm. Make sure you carry that through right until the very end.
If you suddenly start slacking and no longer caring, you’ll only damage your personal brand. If anything, work even harder as part of your final push and leave in a blaze of achievement.
Leaving with a mountain of unfinished work is as disrespectful as it is inconsiderate. Again, it’s your personal brand at stake. Tie up any loose ends and finish any projects you were working on.
That way, you’ll have a clear conscience and will win the appreciation of your boss, your colleagues and your successor. If you don’t plan on being sloppy in your new job, don’t be sloppy when exiting your current one.
Whispered conversations at the water cooler about how much you can’t wait to leave might be a good idea at the time, but they certainly aren’t advisable. Similarly, it’s not the best idea to take to social media and harp on about quitting – word will almost certainly spread.
There’s no better way of annoying your current boss and miffing your colleagues than gossiping about your resignation. The last thing you want to do is to create a negative buzz around your departure.
You might as well make your last few weeks enjoyable. A pleasant word here and there isn’t going to change the fact that you’re leaving, but it certainly won’t go amiss. Focus only on the positive rather than the negative and show that you’re grateful for the experience you picked up at the company.
People will remember the way you leave. To make those memories cheerful, exit with grace and gratitude.
Write a pack for your successor so they can hit the ground running. Give personal notes to people who’ve particularly helped you to show your appreciation. Bring a card in on your last day. Post a LinkedIn update expressing thanks for your time at the company.
You might not particularly want to do those things, but think about the impression it leaves and the positive impact it will have on how people perceive your departure.
So, the next time you resign a post, do it like a pro and pick up some points for your personal brand. Good luck!
Author bio: Roxanne Abercrombie is a professional copywriter and serial blogger. She works as PR, Content and Social Executive for Uniting Ambition, a specialist company that provides recruitment and talent management services to high-growth businesses.
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