September 24, 2020

How To Manage Emotions During Your Resignation

by Scott Thompson

I have found that the most difficult part of a resignation is not the actual resignation. Instead, it is dealing with your own personal feelings and the emotional reaction of your boss. Here are the five most common emotions to come from a resignation. Knowing how to manage these will get you through the process and on to your new job!

Emotion #1- Anger

This is the most common reaction from your current boss. He/she is mad that you’re leaving, mad that they have to deal with the void you’ve created and mad that you won’t take their counteroffer. Remember, sometimes behind the anger is hurt, confusion or frustration in the situation. Here’s something an angry boss typically says:

“What is wrong with you?  Why are you so stupid?  Can’t you see how great we are?”

How You Manage Anger When Resigning

Your automatic response might be to fight fire with fire. DO NOT get angry back. It accomplishes nothing. Instead, stay calm and find a way to leave immediately without fulfilling a two-week resignation. Here’s what I recommend you say:

“Thank you so much.  I appreciate the kind offer, but I have made up my mind.  I think its best if today is my last day.”

Emotion #2- Guilt

In my opinion, this is the worst response to deal with. A guilt trip starts when your boss flatters you saying, “I don’t know what we will do without you,” or “You are so important.”

They may not stop there. They may add things like, “I wasn’t supposed to mention this yet, but you are up for a big promotion and raise. We just can’t announce anything for another three months.” They are trying get into your head.

How You Manage Guilt When Resigning

Like I said, this is the most difficult response because flattery feels good. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: 

  1. If a manager waited to tell you how great you are until after you quit, move on. No amount of flattery can be that good. 
  2. Most people don’t change jobs because of money. It may be a factor, but it isn’t the leading cause.  People leave companies because of bad personalities or the inability of a company to help you meet your goals.  

Here is what I recommend that you say:

“Thank you for the kind words.  It means a lot, but my decision is based on a unique opportunity for the future of my career. My last day is XXX and I will do whatever I can to help during the interim.”

Emotion #3- Elation

This is an emotion tied to you more than your boss. You are EXCITED to move on. You were miserable in your job and poured a lot of time and energy into the interview process. The resignation is a culmination of everything you want and worked hard for.

It’s important not to show elation. Don’t let your boss know how great you feel. Why? Because they will be offended and take it as a personal slight. It is a small world out there. You never know who you are going to unintentionally upset if you come off as overly excited for this change.  

Emotion #4- Jealousy

This is an interesting concept. Jealousy can often manifest as anger. Your boss seems angry to receive the news but deep down they are jealous. Why? If things are that bad for you they are probably just as bad, perhaps worse, for your boss. The anger is because you’re free and they are stuck.

Watch out for ways jealousy plays out. Bosses will act out, from petty and passive aggressive comments to actively trying to sabotage your new move. Insurance is a small world and they could spread rumors with clients or carrier reps. 

How You Manage Jealousy When Resigning

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to stop someone from being a jerk. However, there is one step that you can take to protect yourself. Don’t share where you are going. Period, end of story. Nothing good can come from sharing the name of your new employer.  Here is what you should say:

“My future employer has asked that I don’t share their name until they have been able to make a formal announcement to their staff.”

Emotion #5- Indifference

This is when you discover that your boss is emotionally unavailable. You expect them to be heartbroken and their response is, “Thanks and good luck. You can turn in all your equipment tomorrow. HR will be in touch about an exit interview.”  That response could make you question your worth, but it shouldn’t. This is nothing more than a transaction to the boss. They likely feel powerless to change your opinion or have any counteroffer sway.

How You Manage Indifference When Resigning

Congratulations! You won the lottery! You have a boss that is going to just let you walk out the door. You should be excited that you are so lucky and exit quietly while nobody else notices. In all honesty, it may hurt now, but a boss who acts like this will be someone whose name you will have a hard time remembering in two years. Just roll with it!


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