How To Exit A Job With Class

Leaving a job is never easy.  Coming to the decision is gut wrenching.  Then executing a resignation and navigating the last two weeks is awkward.  I don’t care how many times you do it, you don’t do it enough so that it will ever feel comfortable.  It is uncomfortable and awkward and emotional, and sometimes not in a good way.  What is the best way to resign from a job?  Can you exit with class?  Here’s advice that works:

1.  Prepare Your Resignation Letter

Before you deliver the news, draft your resignation letter.  Write a short note that includes your name, your title, date of resignation, the projected date of your last day of employment and a thank you to your boss directly and other stakeholders for the opportunity to have worked together. Give a minimum of two weeks notice whether you think they will ask you to leave same day or not. It’s the classy thing to do.  Keep it short, sweet and positive as it will be placed in your employment folder.

2.  Prepare Your Transition Plan

Nothing softens a blow and offers a distraction from emotions more than a transition plan.   Suggest how you will help to distribute or transition your workload to existing team members to help lessen the stress for your manager and mitigate any productivity  losses resulting from your departure.  You’ll also look thoughtful and conscientious to your manager.  Keeping relationships intact is a great way to exit gracefully.

3.  Practice Resigning

With a friend, your dog or in the mirror, practice what you are going to say.  Practice how you will handle a bad reaction from a boss and what you will say if they try to keep you.  Will you tell them where you are going?  If they offer you more money, will you stay?  Be prepared to answer those.  Also, practice delivering your transition plan.  Be sure to let your manager know this is a suggested plan and you will leave it up to them to decide how to handle it. Be sincere in telling them  you are willing to do what you can for the remaining two weeks.  Resignations should be non-confrontational, empathetic and yet, professional.  Tricky right?  Leveraging your emotional intelligence and practicing will help you get through it.

4. Deliver The News In Person

This might not always be possible, so at the very least it should be delivered over the phone.  Always deliver your resignation to your direct supervisor first and then your colleagues.  You don’t want it getting around and blindsiding your boss.  Send your resignation letter after your talk as the formal document most employers require.

5.  Don’t Check Out

Okay, so they are keeping you for two weeks.  Maybe they even convinced you to stay for three week to help with the transition.  Be sure to keep working hard during this time.  Sure, you may already have a new job and don’t care how you go out of this one but you never want to burn a bridge.  Work hard until the end.  It’s good karma, it’s professional and mostly, it’s the classy thing to do.

Need more advice?  We can help, just reach out!

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