Resign Your Job, Not Your Dignity
Most of us would agree that it’s a small world—and even smaller within professional circles. We need to make sure that we leave good impressions on the people we meet—especially where we work. I understand that this is not always possible—we can’t make everyone happy, but we must try.
Preparing to embark on a new job opportunity is an exciting feeling since you are turning over an important page in your career book. Though if you are presently working, this eagerness can be outshined by the fact that you are at the point where you need to resign from the current job. You might be thinking about how to go about it.
This is where the true character of all parties involved come to light. What do you think of a company that wants you to give short shrift to your previous employer by forcing you to join earlier than your notice period would allow? Would you cut your notice period in half and run away without a proper handover? And what of the company that will put its interest first by asking you to stay beyond your notice period? What’s the “right” way to do things?
One size doesn’t fit all, but here are my two cents with it comes to effectively leaving your current employer on a good note—without burning any bridges.
Your Boss Should Know First
The worst thing you can do in a resignation scenario is whisper about it to your colleagues over the watercooler—especially if it’s before you inform your boss. No matter how productively you have performed up to that point, it will leave a bitter taste in your boss’ mouth. Be truthful and direct—and most importantly, have the common decency to inform your boss before everybody else.
Avoid Any Trash Talk
You might love or hate the place you are leaving. Either way, it must not affect your conduct. While you are leaving, avoid creating a miserable experience for anyone by trash talking the place. Leaving on a good note will help with overall goodwill and how co-workers perceive you—and that could help you in the future. Even if you have some criticisms, ask yourself if they are constructive enough to mention in an exit interview. If not, keep them to yourself.
This one is pretty obvious, yet often overlooked. You might be very enthusiastic about your new job and want to start right away. But remember, it’s a two-edged sword. Your old organization might be in the middle of a project. If you inform your new company that you need at least two weeks to transition, they will notice your competence and honesty.
Say Goodbye with Professionalism
Saying your goodbyes is not easy—especially if you don’t enjoy the job. We need to learn to close the doors with dignity and professionalism. You never know what references you might need tomorrow. You can stay connected to your colleagues and boss via email or social media as you move to the next chapter of your career.
Train Your Replacement
This one is really important—especially if you are a project manager who intends to leave in the middle of the project. Helping your replacement learn the tools and techniques to accelerate his or her transition will not only help your team gain productivity, it will also show your gratitude for the opportunity your previous employer has given you.
Training your replacement is an additional step that you may not be able to do; but if you can, the generosity will leave its mark on your co-workers and boss—and also potentially pay off in the future. If you are unable to directly assist your replacement, you can always write a comprehensive guide covering key processes and advice.
I have seen many people leave a job in a way that left a bad taste in their (or their co-workers’) mouth; this is not a good approach (both professionally and personally). We need to plan our exits the same way we plan for our new job—with dignity and respect.
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