Don’t Burn Your Bridges; How To Resign With Dignity

The big temptation when you get a new job is to bare your soul and tell your company what you really think. You’re outta here! You quit! You darn sure want them all to know why.

It’s unlikely you’ve been blissfully working away and then suddenly jumped ship. Usually, you’ve had some frustration, there haven’t been the opportunities, or perhaps the acknowledgement, that you’d hoped for.

The things that prompted your job search are bound to be on the tip of your tongue when you deliver the news that you are leaving.

However, it’s worth taking stock, in that heady moment between accepting a job offer and resigning, to think about how you want to be remembered.

Why should you care?
I am endlessly surprised at what a small world this is. The crossover from agencies to clients, corporate mergers and zigzags between multinational companies mean it is highly likely you are going to come across the people you are leaving behind, at some future role.

If you leave them saying “we’d love to have you back,” you can be assured you’ll be the top of the prospect’s list if the perfect job comes up in the future

A few safety precautions
It’s always wise, no matter how excited you are, to get the job contract in writing before you resign. There have been many people who have slunk back to their boss, because a verbal job offer never materialized into the real thing.

And speaking of your boss, your direct supervisor should be the first to know, bar none. Until you’ve had that discussion, don’t leak a peep to anyone, even your best friend at work. You never know, they might make a counteroffer you can’t refuse and you don’t want everyone asking when you’ll be off…

If you can, pick your timing
If your leaving is going to jeopardize business, cause concern about competitive knowledge or general turn your boss’ world upside down, then try to pick your timing.

Ask for an appointment at the end of the day. Tell your boss your news and that you know it will require some discussion. Suggest that they take time to think about it and that you will be free to meet again in the morning.

This gives your boss time to digest the information over night and consider the changes (or counter offer) that they will want to make.

Then think about what their biggest concern will be
Offer to write a job description or help look for your replacement
Assure them you’ll continue doing a stellar job
Explain what you can do to help the rest of the team bridge the gaps.

You can help by being supportive, your boss may become a micromanager, they urgently need to understand your job and your current workload.

Stay positive about the company, the things that set you off to look for a job may not bother your teammates.

Prepare a strong handover note.

Always say thank you
No matter how you feel about your boss at the end, it’s good to thank them for the time they’ve invested in you. This person will be a reference for you for the rest of your career and are bound to know people in the industry. There is no point ruining your reputation now.

And that’s it. If you can navigate your way through your notice period unscathed, you can sail off on your new adventure with the best of intentions.

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