In Resources

Stephen Hickmore looks at how best to leave a job:

You have been given an offer you can’t refuse by a company you’ve been longing to work for. Once you have told your spouse, family and pals, you need to tackle the boss.

So what do you do? Naturally you’re nervous. How is he going to react? Will bridges be burnt? Here are some steps to consider making that transition smooth so you leave with your reputation intact.

  • Have you checked the new letter of appointment carefully? Have you signed it and returned to the new employer and set a start date? Check your present contract to ensure that you know the notice period. It’s never a good idea to resign if you have not finalised new employment terms. Get the idea?
  • Carefully write your resignation letter. It needs to state clearly your last day of work. It does not need to be a long flowing and emotional break up letter. Though be sensitive and thank your boss for the opportunity and learning acquired. Do not use the letter as an opportunity to air grievances. Remember this is a letter, not an e-mail or SMS.
  • Quit in person. Make an appointment and resign face to face. It is the most respectful thing to do. This can be a tough discussion so keep your responses positive and work out a story in advance so that it is credible and consistent. Decide if you want to tell the boss who your new employer is. You don’t have to reveal all. Be prepared that this could be a blow to your boss, after all he will be the most affected by your departure. Ask your boss how he would like you to communicate this decision with work colleagues – don’t dance out of the office and tell all you’ve resigned and post a new status on Facebook, but allow your boss to advise on how he would like this done.
  • Think about how you will handle the situation if your boss were to give you a counter offer. Would you consider it?
  • Leave on a high note. The resignation period is not an excuse to slack off. On the contrary you should redouble all efforts to finish outstanding projects. Start a hand over file so that your co-worker or replacement have an easy transition. Be positive, work harder. Do not use the opportunity to boast about the new job or pick fault. You have no right to demotivate your colleagues just because you have made the decision to depart. You never know which of your coworkers will be your boss in years to come. It’s a small world so be the bigger person.
  • Resist the urge to take databases, company documentation and confidential information. Any work you’ve completed for the company is their property not yours. You may find yourself with a law suit. Your new employer will not want a team member who displays this kind of behaviour.
  • How to say goodbye? The boss might throw a leaving party which is a great opportunity to formally thank the people you’ve worked with. Don’t get sloshed on free booze and say anything you regret. Your parting shot will be remembered. Don’t be sad if the drinks party is not arranged, they are a rarity these days. But do be sure to send out an e-mail to thank all the people you have worked closely with. It is important to keep in touch and supply personal contact details if your colleagues have any questions such as “where did you put that file?” or “what is the password?” It sounds easy, but resigning can be stressful and starting a new position even more so. If you follow the above tips I am sure your old company and bosses are going to miss you.
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