Planning and preparing for your resignation

How to give notice professionally while staying focused on your future

Planning and preparing for your resignation
How to give notice professionally while staying focused on your future

• Organize and write down your thoughts regarding why you’ve decided to leave before you meet with yourmanager(s) to resign. It’s unfair to you and them if you can’t clearly communicate your reasons for leaving.

Remember keep it brief and to the point. Avoid negative comments about the company, people, etc.

Avoid also saying, “thank you for the opportunity to work here” or “I’m sorry for leaving.” Just stick to the facts.

• Organize and write down your reasons for accepting your new position with your new company, and the reasons why the position and company are a better match/fit for you professionally and personally now and for your future.

Once again, remember to keep it brief and to the point.

• Prepare a brief formal resignation letter that serves as a formal notice to your company and manager(s) of your decision to resign.
• This letter documents your voluntary decision to terminate your employment that most likely will be kept in your personnel file at the company.

• Write down the status of all your projects, responsibilities…that you are accountable/responsible for.
• Detail all of your open items and separate those as items you believe you can complete during your wind downphase (2 week notice period) and those that most likely will not be completed during your wind down phase, i.e. they will have to be completed after your departure.
• Provide recommendations as to who should be assigned responsibility to follow through and complete the open items once you depart.
• Provide suggestions about how you can best be utilized to educate/train whoever will be assuming your responsibilities and open items once you depart.
• List compensation that is owed to you (i.e. Pension contributions, vacation pay, bonus)

It’s not unusual in this business for an employee to give notice and be asked to leave immediately! Just prepare for the possibility.

• Management often initially reacts emotionally because they take your resignation personally, or they fear it will be a negative reflection upon them, and/or they’re genuinely concerned about how they’ll ever replace you. They are often taken by surprise and are not prepared to easily substitute someone in your place. Professionalism typically settles in after a few days. Remember: you can’t control what is not yours to control—if they choose to become emotional or unprofessional you can only control how you react—resist the temptation to participate in an emotionally charged conversation, no one wins.

• Remain committed to leaving. Resigning is typically an emotional time for all the people involved with the process. Don’t give them false hope by appearing to reconsider your decision—this only delays the inevitable reality that you’ve decided to leave, and makes them more upset when you firmly reject their counteroffer overtures.

• Counteroffers. It’s unusual for a company not to make a counteroffer. Most people don’t expect to receive a counteroffer and are ill prepared to deal with it when it happens–be prepared.
Management’s probing to learn more about your new position, responsibilities and company in an attempt to find reasons why your new opportunity is not a good fit or career move and to try and find a way to promote their opportunity over your new opportunity.

We strongly suggest you avoid giving extensive details about this information and reiterate your macro (not micro) reasons for why you believe this new opportunity is a better fit for you personally and professionally now.

Let them know you will be happy to provide them with more details once you’ve had a little time to settle into your new position.

“I know you may be curious about where I am going and why, but it is not my intention to discuss that with you today. My decision has been made. If it is truly important for you to know where I am going and why, let’s talk about it when it is not an emotional issue for either of us a month from now. Today,my goal remains to discuss how to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Prepare yourself for a mixed bag of feelings and emotions–change is one of the most feared and difficult things for any person to do and endure.

• Being happy and excited about moving onto something new.
• Self-doubt, i.e. am I doing the right thing. A form of “buyer’s remorse” tends to surface after you’ve made your decision to leave.

That’s why we suggest you detail and write-down all of your reasons for leaving and all your reasons for accepting your new position (personal and professional) before you begin the resignation process.

This written evidence, prepared by you at a less emotional time, can help you keep yourself focused and committed to doing what you believe and know is the right move to make.

• Being afraid of moving into something new.
• Unsure if you can live-up to your new company’s and boss’s expectations.
• Happy to have made the decision and commitment to make a change.
• Sad to be leaving behind what’s known and comfortable to you

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