Job Resignation: Do it Right

Moving on to another opportunity is exciting, but remember to have a professional exit from your current employer.

“Never burn a bridge.” 

How often have you been told that? A cliché, yes, but nonetheless true and important to remember when it comes to leaving your place of employment.

Employees resign for both good and bad reasons. If you are leaving because you cannot stand your boss, the job, the people, the customers, or all of it, you may be tempted to crank up Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It” on your work computer and dance around your desk, but that is not the way to go.    

First, give proper notice. If your company has a written policy, adhere to that. If not, the acceptable amount of time is two weeks notice. Your resignation should be in writing and signed. If possible, speak to your boss in person and give him or her your written notice. If your boss is off site, a phone call followed by written notice will suffice. You should also send a copy of your resignation letter to human resources to be included in your personnel file. Do not tell anyone else in the company that you are leaving before you have given official notice to your immediate supervisor. 

Some companies will want you to stay for the amount of time you gave on your notice in order to transition your responsibilities to a new person or to have others cover until a replacement is hired. On the other hand, some companies will ask you to leave immediately. Be prepared to grab all of your personal belongings in fifteen minutes.

Tip: you should not keep any personal information on your company computer. Depending on company policy, you might not have privacy protection regarding your personal information or data.    

Be familiar with the employer’s policy regarding references. You may need references in the future. Many companies refer all inquiries to human resources. Some policies state only dates and titles will be given. If this is the case, you may want to ask someone familiar with your work if they will provide a reference if needed.

Tip: stay connected with former co-workers through LinkedIn. Just as you have left the company so might others. If you are connected, you will always be able to contact them.

While you may handle your departure in an utmost professional manner your employer may not. One person shared that his former boss called the new employer and “bad mouthed” him. Another told me her boss demanded to know where she was going to be working. Whatever the case may be, never retaliate. In some instances you may want to consult an attorney for advice.       

Most resignations go smoothly. I hope yours does. Good luck with your new job!

Jenny Banzhoff February 08, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I agree that you should not burn bridges with former employers. Positive references are too important. I was just reading this article about job reference rules of etiquette http://www.allisontaylor.com/positive_references.asp. It talks about keeping in touch with former bosses. Good information.


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