January 12, 2018

7 Tips for a Successful Job Resignation

by Kris Gibson

Resigning is often a stressful action for many. It is something that seems to foster feelings of fear, anxiety, or general unrest and while it is never something that is going to be fun, it shouldn’t be fretted over. The ease, or shall we say, success, of a resignation is often controllable simply by following a few simple rules.

1. Be Clear a Decision Was Made

Speak in terms like, “I’ve accepted another opportunity,” or, “I have joined another organization.” These are final, permanent, and suggest it is done, which it is, and you’re just letting them know. Too often people say things like, “I think I’m taking another role,” or, “I am considering a move.” These imply you’re not decided and leaves the door open for them to make a counteroffer or try and manipulate you into staying. Counters, while we perceive them as flattering, are generally a bad thing.

2. Less is More

Do not share a lot of details. Where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and those kinds of details are not relevant to your resignation. Opening up those doors creates the potential for them to start bashing people, organizations, or roles to try and influence you. Simply share it was an exciting opportunity you couldn’t pass on and move along. The easy statement to make is, “It is something I am really excited about, but they have not made an announcement and I want to respect their process. Next time we connect I’ll be happy to share more; I’m sure you understand.”

3. Have a Resignation Letter Prepared

This is easy but it saves time and reiterates finality. Simple letters are quick to put together. You just date it, put your name, articulate your desire to resign, print, and sign. Companies want this so you cannot claim unemployment against them later, and having it ready expedites the resignation.

4. You Control You

It is tempting to say all of the things you’ve probably been wanting to say to your boss for some time; but don’t. It will make you feel good for a few minutes and then only bad can come from it long term. Be professional, give proper notice, and conduct yourself in the best possible way. Burning a bridge won’t ever help you. So no matter how much you want to, keep your cool.

5. Hold Them Accountable

This piggy-backs off of #4. Be professional and conduct yourself properly, but if you find they cannot reciprocate that professionalism and respect, know that you’re totally justified at that point in walking out on the spot. Say, “I’m sorry you cannot be professional about this but I am not going to remain here any longer if this is how you are going to conduct yourself.”

6. Be Prepared for the Walk-Out

This seems to be the part where people have trouble. Most of the time you’ll be walked out on the spot, or very shortly after. This does not mean you’re a criminal or that they don’t trust you, they just don’t want someone there who isn’t committed to the company. Many professions afford access to records, documents, or other intelligence that could, in the wrong hands, compromise the organization. Companies just protect themselves. While you may feel like you’ve done something as you’re escorted to the door, you haven’t. Don’t take it personal.

7. Prepare Your Office

Have your personal belongings boxed up, packed, and ready to go. Maybe even start taking some things home slowly leading up to the resignation date if possible. You don’t want to draw attention, but have yourself readily mobile knowing a walk-out is likely. This avoids standing there with your boss, HR, or both watching you clean your stuff out of your desk, off shelves, and the walls.

Following these simple tips will help ensure the resignation process goes as smoothly as possible and will alleviate a lot of the stress that arises at this step in the process.


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