Resigning the right way

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Resigning can be a nerve-wracking task - Jane Downes talks us through the best way to approach it.

Resigning can be a nerve-wracking time for many. Procrastination can take us over as we fear being stretched out of our comfort zone.

There certainly is a correct and a not-so-correct way of resigning from a job. Get it right, and you will not just get out in one piece, you will have furthered your own success in moving onwards and upwards within your career.

Get it wrong, and you will risk leaving a bad taste in the mouth, jeopardising the good reference you deserve for all the hard work you have put in.

10 Tips for Resigning THE RIGHT WAY….

1. Get 100% clear on why exactly it is you are resigning.

2. Perhaps before you resign ensure you have focused on all potential openings within your current organisation. Remember if you don’t ask you won’t get.

3. Do not resign until you have a new contract signed (unless, that is, you are taking time out or returning to study).

4. Put a plan in place for what you are going to say to your boss and stick to the script. Keep the conversation low-key and dignified. Do not use this as an opportunity to rant and rave about all the things that are wrong with your current job. That ship has sailed. Talk positive and thank your boss for the opportunity and experience.

5. Be prepared for a reaction from your boss such as shock , disappointment or sadness. This could even manifest in behavior that is confrontational. Stick to your guns and rise to the challenge and show composure. Again, knowing in advance what you are going to say will help you to keep all unnecessary drama out of the dialogue.

6. Come across as being as co-operative as possible. Signal that you are not someone who would dream of leaving a mess behind you. That is not how you do things, it is not your style and it is not your ethos. You want to effect an exit without incurring any reputational damage. You want a good reference. You don’t want to waste the good work you have done while there. And yes, you want to behave in a conscientious fashion.

7. Would you consider a counter offer to stay? Be prepared for this issue to arise when you make your announcement to your boss. Have your response thought through before you go through that door. Ask yourself three simple questions. What message would it give if you were to entertain a counter-offer? Would it solve much ultimately? Would the seed of distrust already be sown in terms of your having shown disloyalty?

8. Even if you decide to go with a verbal resignation you will always be required to give a written resignation letter.

9. A resignation letter should only include the following information: name, date, the person to whom it is addressed, notice of termination of employment, date from which this is effective, and your signature. Avoid getting personal or slipping in ‘attitude’. Not the place for it.

10. Your notice period is there for a reason, so honour it. As tempting as it might be to jump ship you need to respect the notice period that is in your contract of employment. A general rule of thumb is 2-4 weeks for a work handover. This will say a lot about you as a person who takes responsibility. It will also give the right message to your future employer even if they need you to be in your new position yesterday. Again, you want to show everyone affected by this move that you are one of the people who does things right.

Jane Downes is one of Ireland's best known Career Coaches. She is author of The Career Book – Help for the Restless Realist and Principal Coach at Clearview Coaching Group.