When you’ve decided to leave your job, think about how to handle your resignation.
If you work for a small company, you know the boss well and you’ve had a good relationship, the proper thing to do is to ask for a one-on-one meeting of 15 or 20 minutes.
Lay out your case for resignation
The circumstances surrounding your wish to leave will help you to determine how to manage the conversation. If you’re quitting because you don’t like the company or the work or the commute, it’s often best to declare upfront that you’re leaving. You could begin like this:
“I’ve decided it’s time for me to resign my job as (your job or position) and leave the company on (date).
I’d like to share my thoughts with you and discuss the company’s needs and my own. Firstly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work here. Making up my mind to leave has been difficult for me, but I’m convinced it’s the right move.”
Opening the discussion this way achieves two objectives. First, the boss knows you’re going and that you’re not there to negotiate better pay or conditions. Also, you’ve softened the blow a little. You’ve shown gratitude and demonstrated that you thought long and hard before making the leap.
Offer to help in the transition period before resignation
Whether your employment contract requires two or four weeks’ notice, the firm has very little time to find someone else and train them, unless there’s a natural successor working alongside you.
Show goodwill towards the company by undertaking to help the new person learn the ropes and by promising to make sure your work is up to date before you leave.
If you are leaving with some reluctance, wrap up the meeting by emphasizing how satisfied you have been at the company.
Follow up your meeting with a short, friendly letter confirming everything that was agreed in your meeting.
Though the letter needn’t be as formal as one you’d write when leaving a large organization, it’s important to record the undertakings that were agreed and to include your full name and address and the company’s information too.
What if you work for a big corporation?
Your employer’s human resources protocol will explain the requirements for resigning, which may vary according to your seniority.
You’ll probably be expected to submit a brief resignation letter and, if the company doesn’t provide one, this template should be suitable:
Resignation as (job), effective from (date)
As required by my employment agreement, I am submitting my resignation X weeks before my leaving date.
I appreciate and am very grateful for the growth opportunities the company has provided for me. I will always look back on my time here as an important period in my career development.
I have accepted a position as (new job) at (new employer).
During my notice period, I will make sure that I meet all my current deadlines. I will provide detailed progress reports on the long-term projects not completed, so that my replacement is fully briefed on the next steps.
If there is anything else you require of me, please let me know. You can contact me here during or after my notice period:
(Phone number and/or email address)
What are we trying to achieve?
Except when a relationship between employer and employee has broken down and can’t be fixed, the objective is to part on the best possible terms.
There are several good reasons for this:
- To preserve your reputation for behaving professionally.
- You may encounter one of your bosses in the future, either as a colleague, supplier or a client.
- The company may intend to tempt you back when they have a bigger job for you.
- One day, you may start your own business and your ex-employer may be helpful.
- If you leave on bad terms, you may spoil the chances of any close friends or family members who plan to apply for jobs.
Don’t think that leaving your job is just a short and temporary detour before you head off in search of new opportunities. The world is a lot smaller than you think and every career move you make, including changing your job, should be carefully considered with a sharp eye on the long-term implications.
In light of that, how you do things becomes as important as what you do.