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Resigning From Your Current Position Is Also An Art

Resigning from your current position is also an art. No matter how unhappy you have been or how anxious you are to go to another company, never let it show. People hate to see someone “gloat,” and you never want to burn any bridges. So here are a few simple tips to ensure that your exit goes as smoothly as possible.

  1. Make sure you do not discuss your new position or the fact that you are leaving with anyone except your boss. The last thing you want is for your boss to know that you are leaving, before you resign. So regardless of how close you may feel to a peer or subordinate, never disclose your plans to them. Always remember that they have a friend with whom they will share your secret, and then it will totally be “out of the bag” before you want it to be.
  2. Prepare a formal resignation letter to present to your boss once you have completed your new job negotiations and have a confirming offer letter. Keep in mind that your boss will probably have to show his boss the resignation letter, so be smart! Even if you hated your boss’s guts, never put it in a resignation letter. In fact, do just the opposite. I have found that a good resignation letter tells the boss how much you enjoyed working for him, how leaving was a very difficult decision, and how you will miss his support, guidance and “mentoring.” The reason you do this is simple. You not only won't burn a bridge, you will actually build one! Keep in mind that sometime in the future you may need a reference or this person may be contacted for some other reason to discuss you. If you gave this person something to help him endear himself with his boss, what better way to make a new friend? Remember, people have a natural propensity to like people who believe like them.
  3. Never let the company you are leaving make you a counter offer. If you accept it, you look bad to the other company, plus your company will never forget that you were leaving. You will be marked an “opportunist” or “disloyal”. If it is an outstanding offer and you turn it down, your new job will not be as satisfying as it originally was. It is better to simply say that you are going to the new company and that you had already given your word that you were accepting the new position. They would never expect you to demonstrate a lack of integrity by going back on your word.
  4. When resigning, always remember to say, and write, that you are providing them with your two-weeks notice of resignation. Also, always put in the letter that you will be available by phone to help in their transition after your departure. It’s a nice touch, and it’s unlikely that they’ll ever call.
  5. As difficult as it may be, during your last two weeks, try not to let your job performance slip. In fact, if at all possible, improve the level of your performance and increase the amount of cooperation you give to your boss and peers. The reason is simple. There is a natural tendency for people to watch you more closely after you have provided your resignation notice. Since you are being closely scrutinized, give them a very positive impression of your work ethic and productivity. After you are gone, if anyone ever calls about a job reference, they will report their freshest memory of you. Make it a good one.
  6. Avoid gloating or appearing too happy to be leaving. Also, do not spend too much time talking about your new position. You do not want to become a disruption, and you do not want to create morale problems. Remain professional, upbeat, and productive. It will really pay off in the future.

These are critical elements of a smooth departure. There are a few other issues like returning the company car in good condition, returning all company property in a timely manner, not taking any confidential materials or reports, etc. The bottom line is that you never know where someone will surface in your business future. Make sure they do not have a perspective, or information, which will impede your career advancement somewhere else.

Sample Resignation Letter

Mr./Ms. [Recipient Name]
[Company Name]
[City], [State] [Zip]

Dear Mr./Ms. [Recipient Name]:

Please accept this letter of resignation as of [Date].

I have enjoyed my stay at [Company Name], but I have been presented an excellent opportunity and feel that it would be advantageous to my career to pursue it. I have enjoyed working with you personally and have gained much experience and knowledge while at [Company Name]. Hopefully, you also feel that my contributions to the company have been significant.

Thank you for a pleasant [number of years with the company] years. I hope that we can keep in contact with each other in the years to come.


[Your Name]

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