Resign with Grace

Can't wait to begin your new exciting job? Or quitting out of frustration with your boss? Either way, it is unwise to burn bridges and resignation could be dealt with in a smooth and painless manner – JetBlue Airways flight attendant Steven Slater's way is a definite no-no.

The Resignation Letter

Keep your resignation letter short and concise, and as tempting as it is, leave out reasons for why you would like to leave and how much the job sucked. Details of your exciting new job should also be left out. Your letter provides official notice of your leaving and should be kept as professional as possible.

Instead, be sure to mention that you are leaving, include the date of which you are tendering (i.e. effective date of resignation) and provide a carbon copy for HR purposes.

Giving Notice

The timing of your resignation should be considered in advance. Although notice are typically set at one month, there are exceptions for positions that harder to fill such as leadership positions or in a niche industry. Check with the HR department before you accept an offer. You wouldn't want to compensate your previous company to leave early. Or worse, lose the new job before you even begin.

On the other hand, it is foolhardy to tender your resignation too early. Anything might happen before your embark on your new career, from hiring freeze to the Lehman Brothers sequel. Besides, you wouldn't want to be judged or ostracised by those colleagues you are leaving behind.

Also, your employer might request that you serve a longer notice than you are legally bound to. Remember, you are not obliged to but it is always good to do him the favour and maintain amicable relations, especially if you are moving on to another company in the same industry. Alternatively, you could offer overtime. It's a small world after all.

Mental Preparation

Before you approach your boss, think through possible scenarios he might react. Depending on the kind of boss you have, be mentally prepared for his reaction. Here are two possible scenarios and how to handle them:

1. Of Shock and Panic

Boss goes: "But we have a major project coming up and no one could do what you do as well as you do!"

Well, this is sure flattering and most would have the inclination to eat the humble pie. Thank him for thinking highly of you but do not put yourself down by saying so and so can do my part or I'm dispensable. Instead, offer a good succession plan and a promise to pick up calls from him when in doubt.

2. Of Anger and Suspicion

Boss goes: "What's wrong with your job scope? I've been very understanding and offered you countless learning opportunities! Where are you going to? Is it for the salary?"

Even if you are extremely excited about your new job, be careful not to sound too eager to leave. Neither should you reveal too much information about your new job. Instead, repeat your gratefulness for the learning experiences here and thank him for all the help rendered. Never reveal the offered salary unless you are hoping for a counteroffer.

Be Professional and Polite

Your resignation should be tendered in person and preferably on a Friday evening. And since you have decided to move on, be professional and polite about it. Start by thanking your superior for the learning opportunity and experience. Then, assure him that you will be doing your best for a smooth handover to your successor. Also, ask for a recommendation letter if you like. Lastly, it is only polite to reject any offer of a counteroffer immediately if you are determined to leave.

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