Step 7: Closure and Resignation

How Do I Resign Successfully?

Congratulations are in Order!

You have made it to the end of the race and you have WON!  You have successfully located, applied for, interviewed and been made a firm offer that you are ready to accept. If you are at this point, you have ALREADY accepted the offer.  Next and equally important is providing closure and resignation, easier said than done.

Giving Current Employer Notice

You MUST give your current employer suitable notice, even if you dislike your company or your boss! The minimum is two weeks and it is usually given on a Friday, but it could be any day and extends to the Friday two weeks away. Your start date is therefor two weeks from the following Monday.

We have mentioned it elsewhere but it bears repeating. DO NOT offer to shortchange your current employer. The new employer may even ask you to try. This is a dangerous game. It can negatively affect your reference from the current employer. This may not feel important to you now, but if and when you leave the job you are going to in the future, this current employer WILL BE called. People have long memories and if you left on bad terms or if you shortchanged them on notice, that reference could be negatively affected. Doing it right is like money in the bank. Never Burn Your Bridges.

Letter of Resignation

This is also dangerous ground with some pitfalls that can be avoided. Never put anything in there you do not want referred to any time later. The letter goes on file and could be read by people in the future who did not know you or the circumstances at the time.

It should go like this:

Please accept my resignation as of (2 weeks notice)

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to have worked on this team. I think we would agree that it has been mutually beneficial.

Unfortunately, I have been offered a position that I believe will further my career and offers potential that is part of my long term plan. I have signed their employment contract and it is irrevocable.

Thank you again for the experience and opportunity to have worked with (your Current Company name)

Yours truly

Your Name

THAT’S IT – No More.

Sweet and Simple. It says thank you, goodbye, I can’t change my mind, and thank you again.

Handing in Your Resignation

This should be done in private; you should avoid telling anyone else before, if possible, because rumors spread like wildfire. It should be handed to your immediate supervisor, preferably on a Friday morning. Giving this to your supervisor is like delivering a BOMB. Three emotions may appear in them and the order they appear is not predictable, but they are all likely. SURPRISE, FEAR AND ANGER.

Surprise: Many times supervisors may have had hints that you are unhappy and dealt with them in the course of a normal day or perhaps you were very happy but came across a great job. Surprise is a natural reaction and you can almost guarantee it will appear. It is often quickly followed by Fear.

Fear: This one may not be very obvious to you but believe me it is VERY common. Why? Here is your supervisor, who may have had little or no idea that you might be looking. He or she is now faced with replacing you and, more importantly, they have to go and tell THEIR supervisor that you are quitting. It is their responsibility to run the team you are on and they have to report 1) that you are leaving and 2) they had no idea. It’s easy to look bad at this moment.

Anger: Whether now or later, this shows up in over 33% of the events. It sounds like this:

What do you mean you are resigning? After all I have done for you!! You know this is a very important time for us and you are just quitting! You can’t do this to me!

This is an understandable and a possible very normal response.

We tell people they are going to start a STORM when they drop that letter, and all they can do is KEEP QUIET and weather the storm.

Counter Offers

Counter offers are an attempt to postpone your leaving until it is considerably more convenient for the company. They ALMOST never work out in the employee’s favor. There have been many articles and commentary to support our views and in ten years of recruiting it is proven over and over.

But they ARE Tempting.

Often the company comes back to you and says something like, “Look, we are sorry we didn’t see this coming. You are very valuable to us and we had promotion and salary increase plans in place for the near future. What if we promote you now or promise to or raise your salary above what you are going to. Will you stay? The answer is NO, NO, NO!!

Because six months from now when the “plans changed” and they are more willing to let you go or, worse yet, encourage you to start looking, you will be kicking yourself for not following through.

Rule of Considering Counter Offers

Don’t Do it!

If the circumstances were so negative for so long that they prompted you to look for other employment, what makes you think things are going to REALLY change. In addition, you negotiated in good faith with the new company, you weighed all of the prospects and accepted their offer when presented. You DECIDED to leave and leave you should.

The resignation process takes courage and conviction. Do not worry, the notice period will go quickly and you will be off to start a new adventure and you didn’t burn any bridges in the process.

Exit Interviews

Another Landmine area!! When the situation was so negative that you actually were seeking alternative employment, it is either the situation or the people. All of the other people are still going to be working there. Near the end of your notice period, it is common for the company to do an exit interview. They tell you that it is an effort to learn whatever they can from an unfortunate situation. Be aware that these comments are included in your employee file at most companies and will be a part of your permanent record. It is almost irresistible to “finally tell them to their face” how stupid they have been or one of the managers is such a big problem. Be VERY diplomatic or say nothing. Any other choice come back to haunt you one day. You have changed your situation for the better and they will have to figure out the problems that they have. Do not risk future shaky references for a chance to “get it off your chest”

Go Back to Step 1: Getting Started