April 4, 2022

Worried About Your Resignation? 4 Tips to Make Giving Notice Quick & Painless.

by Kris Gibson

The interview process is nothing but highs on top of highs. You applied, got an interview, then another, and finally, an offer! You negotiated like a pro and accepted. Congratulations rain from friends, family, and coworkers.

However, very quickly a little seed of doubt, concern, or something else starts to creep up. Lost in all the excitement is the announcement to your current boss, “I quit.”

Understandably nerve-wracking, intimidating, or downright scary, resigning does not need to keep you up at night. It’s just part of professional life. Think of it like an oil change for your career. You don’t want to set aside time for it, but you know it is necessary. The funny thing about that is everyone needs an oil change… including your current boss who has surely been on both ends of the resignation process before too.

We want to help ease your anxiety, so when you find yourself excited to make a career change you know exactly what’s coming with resignations. Here are four tips to help prepare you for the conversation.

Tip #1: Take Charge of the End Date

Your manager accepts your resignation. They cause no drama and simply say, “Thanks for your service to our organization. We wish you well.” You might be surprised by this, expecting the worst, but don’t walk out of the room on cloud nine without getting down to business. Don’t leave your boss’s office without determining your last day. This triggers a whole series of events from the internal announcement that you’re leaving and wrapping up items on your desk to finalizing your onboarding plan with your new employer.

Tip #2: Eliminate Emotion from the Process

What’s that old song lyric? “Breaking up is hard to do.” This is exactly how your boss will see it. While you cannot control their emotions, you can control yours. You have to be cold and stoic, but don’t feed into emotional manipulation. It’s subtle and comes in many forms.

  • Flattery is the most common. “We’d be lost without you.” “You’re too valuable for us to let you go.” These are always accompanied with a counteroffer. Promises will be made (though seldom kept) and you’ll be assured that more money, promotions, responsibility, flexibility, or whatever you want is coming your way. 
  • Guilt is another tactic. “How could you do this to us now?” “You’re really putting your team in a tough spot.” This is designed to do the same thing as the above, and may even come with a counteroffer too, but it plays on your emotions in a different way. Sort of a “woe is us without you” coupled with “I thought you cared about ___”.
  • Anger. Not all too different from the above, it just comes out with a bit more hostility. The list can go on, but these are the three big ones.

Tip #3: Avoid A Free Flow of Information

As they say, “Loose lips sink ships,” and a resignation is one of those situations where less is more. Be extremely guarded with the information you provide. Think ahead to the information your boss will request. This avoids a lot of back and forth, a prolonged conversation, or frankly anything they can use against you in making a case for a counteroffer or a difficult two-week resignation period.

  • Your boss’s question: “Where are you going? Who will you work with? What are they giving you?”
    • Your answer: “I’m very excited about the opportunity but they have not announced it internally. I want to respect their process, so I’m sorry but I cannot share that at this time.”
  • Your boss’ question: “What are you currently working on?”
    • Your answer: “I have a list of everything at my desk pertaining to current clients, projects, etc. I’ll give that to you so the person taking over is fully versed when I leave. Also, I have brought in all my home office equipment- printer, laptop, cell phone, security badge, office key, etc. I can give all that to you now.”

Tip #4: Know What You're Owed

As part of your exit, any company-owed money, how and when it is paid, benefits continuation, and all other matters of compensation and benefits will have to be outlined and settled. Know your company’s policies regarding final pay, vacation buyouts, anything owed back, etc. before you resign. Most of this will be outlined in the employee handbook.


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