Are you ready to resign?
Resignation is used interchangeably in our language to mean either 1) An act or instance of resigning, i.e. surrendering something or, 2) The quality or state of being resigned, i.e. submissive. It’s interesting to note these definitions because when we resign from a “job” to take on an “opportunity”, both forms of the word come into play. Think about this: You had a great interview, you received a fair offer, you are excited about the new opportunity and suddenly you realize, “Argh! I have to resign!”
How you handle this process is extremely important because a badly burned bridge can never be crossed again. You want your resignation to be professional but human and that balance is delicate.
Prepare: Consider your resignation with the same attention you gave to the interview. Put time and thought into it. Prepare what you are going to say, in what order and to whom it will be said. Always start with your manager/supervisor because if they find out later that a colleague knew before them, you have burned a bridge.
Be Honest: Don’t withhold the truth from employers and colleagues, tell them you are leaving.
Be Succinct: Whether telling your boss in person or in writing, get straight to the point. Explain why you are leaving but never include negative feelings in your summarization.
Be Flexible: If you can, negotiate a final date that suits your employer as well as you and your suitor. Cooperate fully in the transfer of files, documents, projects and clients you are working with prior to leaving.
Be Realistic: If your resignation is going to be a “surprise”, expect a reaction from your employer. Allow them time to react to your news. If your manager takes an aggressive or confrontational stance, do not respond with similar behavior. You may always revert to your prepared comments.
Be Diplomatic: If you think your negative comments need to be said, do so verbally never in writing. You are always safe if you stick with your prepared comments and avoid “reacting” to what you hear.
Be Appreciative: Recognize that leaving does not invalidate everything your employer has given to you. Thank them for training, for opportunities given and for providing you with the chance to grow. Thank colleagues for mentoring you and for taking the time to do so. Find something good to say – always accentuate the positive.
Follow-Up in Writing: If your process starts verbally, always provide a written letter of resignation that confirms when you are leaving. The letter should also be succinct.
Never Burn Bridges: Every business community is small and you never know when you might need to rely on a former employer for a reference, advice, or even a job. Equally unpredictable is where your current colleagues might move to next. They could be a hiring authority or wind up applying for a job with you.
Keep in Touch: Be proactive about staying in contact with valuable contacts and friends you developed. Your network will be an incredibly important component in your ongoing career development.