Resigning Gracefully

– by Dib Mossavi

When it’s time to quit and make a change, be it a new career path or simply a new challenge, by all means – resign.  . The procedure for resigning  is simple enough: give notice, preferably in advance.  If we don’t want to burn any bridges  thereby creating obstacles to future opportunities, we must be especially careful and considerate.

Resigning is easy, but resigning gracefully is not. There are several ways a person can make their resignation as smooth and as grudge-free as possible :-

Keep it to yourself. Once you’ve made the decision, don’t go blabbing it all over the company until you have notified your immediate supervisor. Give her or him time to absorb and process the information. If the company makes an attractive counter-offer, it will be awkward if you have already announced your plans to coworkers.

Plan to give notice. If you want to leave under the best possible terms, don’t leave your employer high and dry, scrambling to cover your position. Give at least the minimum notice specified in your employment contract if applicable,  so that your boss can prepare to have others cover for you, or have time to groom a replacement.

Be prepared, direct, and polite. Rehearsing privately will help you be ready when your supervisor has you in to talk. Most managers are extremely busy and they will appreciate your direct approach, forgoing the temptation to “cushion the blow,” “find the right way to say this,” or otherwise beat around the bush. You might say something like:

  • “I’ve been considering my options here for some time, and I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve found here, but I must give ample notice.”
  • OR… “I need to let you know that I have been offered a new position at another company. I have really enjoyed working here, but I need to give you my three months’ notice as of today.”

Be prepared to discuss. Chances are you’ve been working with this company for some time, and whatever your reasons are for leaving, she or he may have some questions. Or your boss may value you much more than you realized, and make a counteroffer. Being polite and dignified about your resignation  could make this possible. You will need to consider in advance whether you would stay for a pay raise,  increased benefits, a promotion, or other incentives. This would be a prime negotiating  opportunity, so be prepared for it, and know your own bottom line. If staying is an option, what would make you open to it? Check the warnings though, because counter-offers can have some serious downsides.  Consider any counteroffer objectively and in depth. It may be wise to refuse any offers to stay with your current employer. Accepting a pay raise or other bonus after threatening to leave can cast you in a negative light with co-workers and the company as a whole. It can also make you seem indecisive and of questionable loyalty. Always keep a record of the offer in case you come back to the company in the future.

Emphasize the positive. Be honest, but polite. If the boss asks you if he or she had anything to do with your decision, and was a factor, it’s best to rely on tact and diplomacy to make an honest answer palatable. In other words, you won’t help yourself by saying, “Yes, you’re a lousy supervisor and I (or anyone) would have been way better,” (even if it’s true). You can be truthful without being cruel.  “It was a factor, but not the entire reason. I felt our working styles and approaches just weren’t a great fit. Still, the overall experience here has been positive; and with this opportunity, I feel excited to have new challenges.”

Once an affirmative decision has been made ….move on! Bon Voyage!

2 Responses

  1. New careers are new opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you need to burn the bridge behind you.

    Gracefully, I like it.

  2. Very nice website, best regards MK

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