I’m smiling as I write this because if you’re actually reading these words you’re in a, uh, situation.
You either read everything I write no matter what (that’s a situation in and of itself), you’re considering resigning, about to resign, or wondering how you completely screwed up your recent resignation.
I’m, of course, not happy about your situation, but am thrilled to offer some comfort and guidance on how to perfectly resign from your current employer.
All good things come in threes or fours or, oh, whatever…
There are two critical steps—for certain—you should take to actually resign: write the resignation letter and conduct the resignation discussion.
Of course, there are other potential aspects such as transferring your knowledge to whoever will acquire your duties. Yawn. You’ve already checked out, so let’s skip the boring details in this tasty article.
There’s also my personal favorite—the dreaded counteroffer. Don’t get me started. Here’s all I have to say on this matter. Check out The Counteroffer—How To Go from Acceptor to Extortioner in One Decision.
Can I just text ‘em?
The resignation letter. Please, for the love of all that is holy, sit down and type an actual letter to your employer. (It’ll take four minutes if you copy what I’ve written below.) It’s the least you can do!
There are only three (hey, there’s that three thingy again) pieces of information you need to communicate: your gratitude, your resignation, and your last date of employment.
This is the classy step and will look favorable should you consider returning. Would only return if hell froze over? Fine. Then trust me when I share some day—I promise and pinky swear—you will face a former employee who now works for a company you want to join. It’s a law of the universe.
Here’s your sample:
Dear Jilted Employer,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to work at
This letter is to inform you I’m resigning from [insert your position here].
My last day will be [insert date here with a two weeks notice or whatever exception your employment contract requires]. I’ll be happy to transfer my knowledge to whomever you designate over the next two weeks.
Excited to Leave Employee
The resignation discussion. After you’ve prepared your letter and are ready to resign, gather your personal belongings or computer files in the event your employer walks you to the door upon receiving your notice. It’s always better to be safe regardless of what you’ve observed during your tenure.
When you resign, it’s typically best to discuss it verbally before handing the appropriate person your letter.
When you convey your resignation 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’re providing your verbal or written resignation, make sure to avoid mud-slinging or unconstructive remarks that could be misconstrued as frustration. No good can come of this.
If you care to provide constructive feedback for your current employer, you’ll likely have the opportunity to present it during an exit interview. During that time, keep the remarks upbeat and professional.
But, you can’t leave because all the plants will die…
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.
Oftentimes, 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 the new employer offers your current one simply cannot. This usually helps avoid the back-and-forth of “what if we do this or that?”
Regardless of your situation, make sure to be definitive and gracious. The outcome will be fine. Most importantly, you’ll be on to your new adventure!
As always, I’d love to hear from you: Any good resignation suggestions?
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I’ve seen three reactions. “I understand, best of luck and stay in touch. Let me know if it doesn’t work out. I will write you an awesome LinkedIn recommendation.” This told me that communication with the employer was good, even if there were reasons to leave.
The employer I was with the longest came up with a very classy, “Is there anything we can do to change your mind?” As good a human being as he was, I’d been trying for quite a while to communicate with my manager how I wanted to grow, and unfortunately some combination of how I was expressing myself and how he was listening kept us from being able to find a way.
The third reaction I saw only once. This employer reportedly sued almost everyone I knew who left, although they didn’t ever sue me. One guy I know told me that they spent over $100,000 in legal fees going after him and ended up paying him back every dime he spent defending their claims. They did end up deciding to not pay out accrued vacation time to me; it being a small amount I let it go.
Mike, goodness on that last one and glad nothing like happened to you!