Congratulations! You just got an offer for a wonderful new remote job… but there’s just one catch. You have to say goodbye to your current employer. Eek!
Maybe you loved your job and you face an emotional farewell. Or, maybe you hated every minute of it and you’ve been counting the days till you could walk out the door one last time. Whatever the case, most people admit to feeling a little nervous when the time comes to put in your resignation.
Will your boss be angry? Are you already feeling guilty about the work you’ll be leaving behind? Will your close colleagues be happy for you, or could there be some resentment that you’re moving on?
You’ll probably have a lot of different thoughts running through your head, however, it’s time to set your worries aside and focus on what’s more important: your resignation announcement.
The way in which you go about your resignation can influence your career in the future, and knowing how to resign gracefully will protect your longer-term career interests.
Here are some guidelines to move to your next position with grace and style.
1. Give the correct amount of notice.
Check your company’s policies and procedures regarding the required notice period. It could be a week or two, or even a month or more. There could even be an exit interview or other formality to follow.
Whatever the case, abide by the policies and avoid sticking around longer just because you feel bad for your boss or colleagues. If your boss required two weeks notice, but belatedly realized she actually needs four weeks for a smooth handover to your successor, that’s not your problem. Your boss has miscalculated and needs to accept the cost of her business decision.
2. Don’t accept client calls or emails AFTER you leave.
Unless you have a consulting contract in place after you leave, you shouldn’t continue to take calls or emails from customers on work related matters. If your company needs additional help, offer to work as a paid consultant with a contract in place – just get everything in writing. Transitioning to your new job should be your number one priority.
3. Know the company’s policy regarding disclosures and no-compete agreements.
Some companies are extremely proprietary about their processes and their people. Once you resign, you may have to leave the workplace immediately. Or your new company may ask you not to work for your former employer, even on a part-time basis. Find out what the policies are in advance of resigning so you’re well aware of your rights.
4. Don’t spread the news about your resignation BEFORE you actually resign.
It’s never a good idea to tell your friends or work colleagues about your decision to resign before you’ve actually done it. Be professional and speak to your boss first.
5. Thank your boss and coworkers.
So you might be keen to leave, but remember, it’s a small world. Don’t burn your bridges! You never know when you might encounter your boss or coworkers at a conference or networking group.
Thank your boss and your coworkers for the opportunity to learn which has led to your newest and exciting career move. Even if you’re really angry and hated your boss, find something good to say. Remain professional and you will most likely benefit from strong references and goodwill.
6. Treat the exit interview as a business formality, not a therapy session.
When your boss asks why you’re leaving, be upbeat and positive: “for a better opportunity.” Talk about how much you loved working for the company and your job. You never know where your comments will turn up, mangled and misinterpreted.
7. Resist the temptation to share the details of your future position.
When you resign, your boss or a work colleague might try to assess your salary or other information pertaining to your new role. However, details of your future employment should remain confidential, even from your close friends in the company.
8. Focus on your new opportunity – not your past experience.
It might sound blunt…. but once you’re gone, you’re history. And often your work colleagues will barely remember your name a week after you leave. Focus on your future role and making a smooth transition, and be excited about the prospect of learning something new.