You’ve decided you want to study. Your partner has been transferred and you need to move. You’ve don’t want to work in your current position any longer.
No matter what your reason for quitting, you’ll likely find it challenging to face the music and tell your boss.
Here are our top 10 tips for leaving your job on a positive and professional note, with your reputation intact.
Finalise your new position details with your new employer before resigning
Make sure you have your job offer letter and other documents signed, sealed and delivered, before you quit.
Check your current contract to see how much notice you’re committed to give and do everything you can to honour this.
If you’re required to give four weeks and your new employer insists on you starting earlier, try to negotiate at least two weeks’ notice so you don’t leave your current employer high and dry. Explain that it’s a priority for you to leave your existing job professionally and on the right note.
Tell your direct boss before anyone else
Show your boss full respect by notifying them as soon as you can.
Make a meeting time and tell your boss face-to-face, never by email or text, which may be seen as unprofessional and even gutless.
Never blab to your colleagues first that you’re intending to leave—chances are news will get to your boss quicker than a flash.
Keep your resignation ‘story’ consistent—don’t tell your boss one thing and then colleagues another since this could come back to haunt you
Write a professional resignation letter
be straightforward and succinct
explain why you’re departing without going into too much detail
provide the date of your departure
express gratitude for all you’ve learned and the opportunities you’ve had
Give us much notice as you can
Provide at least two weeks’ notice, even longer depending on your work load, work priorities and unfinished work. Your boss will need this important lead time to fill your position and to ensure a handover.
If your new employer won’t give you this amount of notice time, explain to your current boss that you’ve tried your best, so you’re not seen as bailing out.
Provide a detailed handover and ensure a smooth transition
never leave your boss in a vulnerable position or caught off-guard
discuss with your boss if there’s anything specific he/she needs from you during handover—be helpful all the way
organise a quick meeting with your human resources department to work through exit questions
get organised so you’re not rushing during your last couple of days, creating havoc and causing panic
develop a plan and checklists so you don’t miss anything
leave behind detailed and clear written instructions, operating procedures and step-by-step processes as needed
Write a short farewell email to those you work with
thank them for their support
remember a good time or two
tell them how they can reach you if you want to stay in touch
Tidy up before you walk out the door
make sure your physical work space is clean, and organised, including your desk and drawers
check you’ve removed all personal items, so others don’t have to clean up after you
close off your computer properly
be organised to turn in all company-owned property on your last day, including your passes, mobile, laptop and keys
Be positive until the last minute
If you’re leaving your job because you’re unhappy, remember that walking out the door bitter will do nothing more than leave a long-lasting wrong impression.
Don’t switch off mentally as soon as you hand in your notice since this will spoil what your good track record
Never speak badly of your boss or colleagues post resignation
Never write texts or emails to your colleagues after you’ve left your job complaining or being negative about your boss or workplace. This will inevitably work its way direct to those with influence.
Remember that you’re the one who has resigned, so writing subversive emails to colleagues does no more than put them in an awkward and uncomfortable position.
Remember the future
No matter what your relationship with your employer, do whatever you can to resign in a way that reinforces your professional image and enables you to keep a relationship that’s as strong as possible.
You want to keep the door open since you never know what the future holds.
While often employers aren’t happy with a resignation—especially when a strong and productive employee quits—a professional boss won’t take the matter personally and they’ll treat you with the same respect you treat them.
If you certain you’ll get the new position and doubt you’ll be allowed to give two weeks’ notice, discretely start completing work and getting ahead on deadlines.
Don’t start removing personal items from your work area before you quit—you’ll create suspicion and cause concern.
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