Let’s assume you accepted the new company’s offer to join. It’s time to resign. The most important part about resigning is that you are definitive and clear regarding your commitment (not just your intention) to leave. So many people waver in this act and employers oftentimes make it a difficult process that I thought I’d prepare a post on how to break up with your employer–resign with class.

There’s no such thing as a good breakup.

I suggest preparing a resignation letter that includes a few critical pieces of information: a thank you, confirmation of your resignation, and your last date of employment. This is not only the classy thing to do, it will also look favorable in the file should you ever consider returning.

Thank You: Thank your employer for all the opportunity it has provided you. Regardless of whether you are happy or sad to leave, realize you have gained invaluable experiences. Appreciate them.

Confirm Resignation: Include the position from which you are resigning with definitive language stating that you have accepted another position. Do not include any language that implies you are open to considering your current employer’s input regarding this matter. This will be construed as either wavering or a ploy on your part to see whether they will upgrade your pay or provide other enticements to stay.

Last Date: Specify your last date of employment. This date can be determined based on a few factors. In some instances, you might have an employment agreement that legally cites the minimum period you are required to stay from the date you provide resignation notice. Others might want to factor the appropriate amount of time for knowledge transfer to other employees or wrap up remaining projects. A typical resignation period is between two and four weeks, but the majority are shorter. Whatever the length of the period, realize the longer the gap between your acceptance and start dates for your new job, the less likely you are to show up—whether this was your choice or your new employer’s. Given time, things simply come up.

After you’ve prepared your letter and are ready to resign, I would be sure to gather your personal belongings or computer files in the event your employer immediately walks you to the door after receiving your notice. This is as rare in some industries as it is common in others. You will be the best judge of what you’re likely to encounter, but I recommend being prepared for anything.

When resigning, I would discuss it verbally before handing the appropriate person your letter. When you convey this message verbally, be sure to use definitive words and language such as “I have already accepted another offer.” Stay away from expressions such as, “I’m considering another offer,” because that leaves room for your employer to misinterpret your intentions.

Whether you are providing your verbal or written resignation, make sure to avoid mud-slinging or unconstructive remarks that could be construed as frustration. No good can come of this. If you care to provide constructive feedback for your current employer, you will likely have the opportunity to present it during an exit interview. During that time, keep the remarks upbeat and professional.

Should I prepare for the kitchen sink?

No one likes to be fired, especially not employers. For the most part, employers, especially those with which you have developed a lengthy, successful relationship, will be disappointed when you resign. They will likely want to understand your rationale. Sometimes they want to understand it to determine whether there is something they can do to keep you. Other times, they are simply looking for feedback and improvements they can channel into the remaining employee base. If you feel it necessary to engage in this dialog, you are best suited to discuss points that the new employer offers that your current one simply cannot. That usually helps avoid the back-and-forth of “what if we do this or that?”