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How to resign the right way and keep your work relationships intact!

Resigning from your current job to take a new position can be an exciting but stressful time. You likely have mixed emotions – sadness about leaving coworkers you’ve bonded with, eagerness for new challenges and opportunities, and anxiety about how your resignation will be received. While resigning is never easy, following proper etiquette and communications can help make the process smoother for everyone involved.

Here are some Do’s:

  • Give proper notice. The standard notice period is at least two weeks, though some senior roles may expect up to four weeks. Check your contract, employee handbook, or talk to HR about company policy. Providing adequate notice allows your employer to begin the transition process and search for your replacement.
  • Submit your resignation in writing. Verbally informing your boss is fine initially, but you should always follow up with a formal written resignation letter. Keep the letter brief, professional and positive – thank them for the opportunities you were provided.
  • Meet with your manager in person. After submitting your letter, schedule a meeting to discuss your transition off of projects and to offer assistance training your replacement.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Your manager may want more details on why you are leaving and your new opportunity. Avoid bad-mouthing your current role – keep things positive.
  • Offer to tie up loose ends. Communicate what projects you’re wrapping up and offer to help document processes and procedures as needed to enable a smooth handoff.
  • Express gratitude. Let your coworkers and manager know you appreciated working with them and learning from them. Offer to connect on LinkedIn to keep in touch.

Here are some Don’ts:

  • Blindside your manager. Give them a heads up about your upcoming resignation prior to submitting it.
  • Resign via text or email only. While written notice is important, also discuss in-person if possible.
  • Announce to coworkers before leadership knows. Your direct manager should be the first to know so they can plan the communication strategy.
  • Badmouth your current role or company. Avoid venting frustrations about why you disliked your job or are leaving. Take the high road.
  • Leave projects half-finished. Tie up any loose ends on deliverables and work closely with your team on next steps before your last day.
  • Overshare on your new opportunity. While it’s fine to tell your employer where you are going, don’t get into too many details about the new position or compensation.
  • Drain vacation days before you depart. Check company policy – they may require you to pay back vacation time used right before resignation.
  • Burn bridges on the way out. This is still a small world, so exit gracefully maintaining positive relations. You never know when you may cross paths – or need references!

Following proper resignation etiquette helps make what is often a difficult conversation go more smoothly, while still upholding your professional reputation. Being thoughtful, honest and appreciative can enable everyone to end on a positive note. Treat your departure as an opportunity to exhibit professionalism and gratitude for the opportunities you have been given.

Get the do’s done and you’ll be able to keep your work relationships intact!

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