Resigning with grace and dignity

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How to resign with grace and dignity

As important as starting a new job on the right note is, it is just as crucial to leave your current job with the utmost courtesy and professionalism.

But with anything you do in life, a little preparation goes a long way. So here are a few things to think about as you turn in your notice for that great new job, courtesy of Greg Doersching, Griffin Search/Bullseye Recruiting of Wisconsin.

Be prepared for your boss’s reaction

Image of businessman packing a box after resigning his jobBe prepared for your boss’s reaction. Whenever someone resigns from a company, the first thing that happens is your boss worries about how your resignation will reflect upon him/her. They are not concerned with is this the right move for you. In fact, most of their reactions will be fairly predictable. Here are the reactions you will get from them and generally in this order.

  1.  Shocked and amazed. “I can’t believe this is happening, I didn’t see it coming.”
  2.  Saddened. “I hate to see you go, you’ve been such a friend to the company.”
  3.  Questioning your thought process. “Have you really thought this through, what about…?”
  4.  The hidden promotion or project. “Boy, the timing of this couldn’t be worse, I hadn’t told you about it yet, but I’ve been thinking of moving you into…”
  5.  Stalling tactic. “Well let’s not do anything permanent until I have a chance to talk to some people.”

What to say

You don’t owe them a huge explanation. Don’t say much more than you are leaving. Emphasize the positive, and talk about how the company has benefitted you, but mention that it is time to move on. Offer to help during the transition and afterwards. Don’t be negative. There’s no point – you’re leaving and you want to leave on good terms. Make them aware that your decision is final and do it in writing.

You don’t need to give them more than 2 weeks

If your employer asks you to stay longer than two weeks, you have no obligation to stay. Your new employer will be expecting you to start as scheduled, and in a timely manner. What you could do is offer to help your previous employer, if necessary, after hours, via email or on the phone.

And don’t forget….ask for a reference!

Before you leave, ask for a letter of recommendation from your manager. As time passes, and people move on, it’s easy to lose track of previous employers. With a letter in hand, you’ll have written documentation of your credentials to give to prospective employers.

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