Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Resigning from a job is not easy. Whether it is a position you have held for a while, or even just what turned out to be a temporary situation, resigning from your job is a delicate matter. Most people quit a job because they have something better lined up. In other cases, it was simply a bad situation, or they didn’t enjoy what they did. Either way, resigning from your job can be a very emotionally overwhelming task. Which is why, it is so easy to get carried away and commit a misstep, which could potentially harm your career trajectory.
But the truth is- handing in your resignation is not as hard as it seems.
It is only an emotionally drawn out process if you are attached more to the people or workplace than the job. In cases where resigning is an absolute necessity for your mental health, it is easy to look at this huge change in a very emotional manner. People also get extremely emotional if they have to quit a job they love because they decided change is a necessity. But that is exactly where most people commit a mistake. Resignations from jobs, no matter how beloved, must never be long-drawn and expressive. Grace and professionalism are of paramount importance here. Regardless of company protocol, there are a few rules you can follow to ensure you resign in an appropriate and professional manner.
Resigning in person is always the best way to do it. It shows the management that you still respect them, and makes it much easier to obtain stellar reference letters from them. Be the person your boss would still re-hire if they had the opportunity to do so.
If you have a weekly meeting with your boss, try scheduling a separate meeting for this purpose.
Walk into the meeting with a formal printed resignation letter in hand.
2. Do not burn any bridges you have in your current workplace. The professional world is a very small world, and you might circle back to your soon to be ex-workplace for a different job in the future, or might be rejoined by your boss or peers at a new workspace somewhere in the future.
If you have the availability, you should also extend an offer to help during the transition that will occur. This might entail training your replacement or writing a list of your daily work responsibilities and open projects for their use so that they can hit the ground running.
3. Always give a 2 week notice period if there is no set protocol for a resignation notice. In some offices, the notice period is much longer, and dependent on your contract. Make sure you know the details of all the paperwork involved. Keep in mind that your employer doesn't have to accept the notice you give, and your employment could be terminated immediately.
4. Be sure to save any files you want to Google Drive, or elsewhere online, or email copies to yourself. You may not have access to your computer once you turn in your resignation, so have copies of everything you need before you tell your boss that you're quitting.
5. You may have to give an exit interview, usually to the H.R. representative. Make sure you have definite and thorough answers to their questions, especially the question “Why are you leaving this job?”
In some cases you might be given a counter-offer, or persuaded to stay using various other benefits or changes to your contract. Think it over carefully, without any personal bias. You can read our take on counter offers here and additionally, a second perspective here .
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