How to resign from a job - gracefully

  | James Innes

Many people fantasise about leaving their jobs, and telling their current boss exactly what they think about them and their company. However, this should just remain a fantasy. If you have succeeded in getting a new job offer, you should resign from your present employer with dignity and grace. Maintain your professionalism to the end – it will serve you well.

First of all, there are practical reasons for doing so. Whilst the other company may have made you a job offer, it is not unknown for that offer to be subsequently withdrawn. A company can change its mind, undergo a business restructuring, or be subject to a merger – and suddenly your new job has disappeared.  There is also the possibility that your existing company, if it really wants to retain your services, could make you a counter-offer – more money, a new role, broader responsibilities. By acting professionally and not burning your bridges, you are maximising your possibilities at a time when you have the most power in your relationship with your current employer.

Another reason not to act hastily is you never know when your paths might cross again with your boss, colleagues or employers. Some niche industries are quite small, and there is a good chance you might meet again in later life. Also, your existing boss or colleagues might be valuable contacts in the future – why risk alienating them?

Follow company rules. If it stipulates a standard notice period, then make sure your honour those terms. Write an appropriately professional resignation letter to your boss, refrain from bragging about your new position to colleagues and carry on fulfilling your job responsibilities to the full.

Your resignation letter does not have to specify why you are leaving – a phrase such as “I have decided to seek new opportunities” elsewhere may suffice. However, be sure to thank your current boss for all you have learned in the job, that you have enjoyed working there – even if you haven’t – and wish the organisation well for the future. It is important also to state your last day at work.

How you resign from a company speaks directly to your professionalism.  However much you may want to tell your employer to stick it, resist the temptation. Act like a professional throughout. Not only will your current boss and company respect you for it. So will your next employer. And, ultimately, you will respect yourself for how you have conducted yourself.

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