How To Resign Responsibly
Everyone’s had the dream of kicking open their boss’s door, telling them off, flipping a desk or two, and marching out of the office to the applause of their peers…
Unfortunately, unlike the public freakouts that work so well on tv and in the movies, handing in your notice without decorum tends to not pay off so well in the long run. That’s why we’ve created a guide to resigning responsibly, so you can keep looking professional and avoid burning bridges just because you’ve crossed them.
Whatever your reason for moving on, we’ve got the methods to keep in mind!
Talk To Your Boss First
In the chain of command, it’s your boss’ (supervisor’s) responsibility to account for their staff. Telling them will let them make the best plan to replace you, and distribute your workload in the meantime.
You may want to talk about all your new plans with coworkers you’re close with, but doing so can create unnecessary expectations about what will happen after you’ve gone. People might begin to vie for your position, when your boss may decide later to restructure instead of replace. You may also be asked questions you don’t want to answer, or your boss would rather your coworkers didn’t know. Letting your supervisor disseminate the information how they see fit is essential to keeping up morale and productivity.
Another important reason to go to them first is they have the power to make a counteroffer, in the event that you are leaving for another opportunity. If you announce widely that you’re leaving and that’s that, it is extremely unlikely that you will be given that option, as your employer will want to save face.
Be sure to bring a copy of your letter of resignation, but you should hand it over personally. Book a meeting with your boss and explain your plans. You may have some ideas to offer about reallocating your workload or training your replacement that you can discuss with them. Be sure to stay professional, and polite, and stick to your guns.
How would you break the news to your employer?
Talk To The Team
Especially if you’ve been working somewhere for a long time, you will have many close connections at your workplace. Take time to thank people who’ve helped you succeed, mentored you along the way, and made your work life more enjoyable.
Some of your team may be coworkers again in the future, particularly if you’re staying in the same industry. Keeping in their good books means keeping them in your network for down the road. They can come in handy for a recommendation, a business partnership, or just because you value their friendship!
Be positive about your new horizons, but don’t be disparaging or boastful. Remember that these people will still be at the same place after you’ve gone. Plan your replies to typical questions in advance, such as “why the change?”, “did something happen?”, etc.
What things do you want to tell your coworkers before you leave?
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
Many people get hyper-focused on where they’re going, and check out mentally from their current employer.
You want to end things on a high note. Your last impression can be just as important as your first, especially if you’re hoping for a nice recommendation in the future.
You also don’t want to make things harder for your team; if you’re leaving because of management, or pay, or something that’s not their fault, they shouldn’t have to suffer the extra workload of picking up your slack.
Instead of feeling like you have to find new motivation, think about how easy things should feel in perspective now. It’s like the last 100 metres of a marathon, go ahead and sprint your way across the finish line!
What else can you do to keep your energy up during the last leg of your employment?
People will generally put extra effort into seeing you off at the end. There may be a formal event, or gifts or cards, etc. Be sure to reciprocate, and express gratitude for your opportunities and the ways you’ve been able to develop.
It can be an emotional moment, and you should take care to be professional in a professional setting, but also respect and acknowledge the feelings in the room.
Ensure you don’t miss anyone you need to see, and gather everything you need to bring with you to avoid an awkward return. Collect contact info as needed, and remind those people whose support you value that though this is the end of working together at your current job, it doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship overall.
Now it’s time to look forward to tomorrow, knowing you left the past on good terms.