Resigning With Style and Dignity

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We have been brought up to believe that quitting is a bad thing. If you ‘quit’ something then it shows that you have given up on it or that you ‘can’t’ do it. Of course quitting your job is quite different and instead just shows that you are moving on to pastures new. However that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant having to go ahead and give up on your career and especially when there are many other emotional and practical factors to consider as well.

We are also taught to honor our commitments, and when you take on a new job you automatically take on whole series of commitments – who will fill in for you when you’re gone? What will the repercussions be for the people you’ve come to be friends with? And then on top of all that, there’s the feeling of obligation and gratitude – and after giving you steady employment for this long you are then leaving that organization which can feel very wrong.

All these things make quitting very difficult, but that doesn’t change it from being a fact of life. We all have to quit our jobs at some time whether it’s to move on to better employment, or whether it’s because we’re moving or we can’t afford rent in our current position (of course in other cases it is personal or bitter, but that can’t be helped either and is all just a part of life). People understand this which is why it’s not about whether you quit or stay, but rather it’s about how you quit or stay. Whether you leave a sour taste in the mouths of the people you worked with and for will depend mostly on how you go about breaking those ties and handing in your resignation. Do this well and you can leave a good legacy behind you and leave yourself the option to perhaps one day come back to work there or use your contacts in other ways. Keeping your bridges in tact can be a highly valuable strategy. Here we will look at how to resign with style and dignity so that you do just that and so that the doors remain open for you should you ever wish to make a return. Here are some tips for resigning gracefully.

Explain Your Reasons

If you up and leave for no reason then this is going to of course result in rumors and speculation as to why you left and those rumors will almost always be worse than the truth. At the same time leaving without giving a reason makes it feel personal and it makes it feel random – and that makes it harder to excuse. If you can give good reasons for wanting to leave your current work, and if you can make sure people know that there’s no animosity, then people are more likely to be sympathetic to your decision. ‘It’s not you, it’s me… ‘. And if you don’t have good reasons for leaving – if you think the whole team are morons – then come up with another reason that you can give. Something geographical, financial or related to the kind of work you enjoy doing are all things that don’t feel personal and that anyone can understand.

Give Notice

The more notice you can give, the more time you provide the company with in order to find other people to fill your shoes (not to mention your job role). This will then mean that the company is able to carry on operating without any gaping gaps in its team and this means they are likely to be more forgiving when you leave them high and dry. Of course you need to work your legal two-four weeks notice that’s stated in your contract, but if you can let them know sooner then that’s even better. The temptation is not to tell the company you’re looking for other work in order to avoid any awkwardness for as long as possible – but the sooner you tell them the longer they’ll have to come around to the idea and the better it will be in the long run.

Offer to Help

There may be some ways you can help after you’ve left and this is a great way to ease the transition. For instance you might be able to train up your own replacement (another reason to give lots of notice), or you might offer to act in the capacity of a consultant (particularly common for people who are retiring).

Stay in Touch

You should also stay in touch with the people you have left. It doesn’t hurt to send them the odd card from your holiday, or to pop in for a drink, and if you have any friendships in the organization then you should make sure not to let them fall by the wayside. This demonstrates that your reasons for leaving weren’t personal, and it means you can maintain your reputation a little with at least some players in the office.

Don’t Do Anything to Hurt the Company

Depending on the position you were in there may be various things you could do to damage the company. So don’t find employment with any companies that are directly competing with yours, and don’t expose the company or any of their private information.

Celebrate

You should also celebrate your leaving, and that means throwing a leaving party or at least bringing cake and biscuits into the office. This is another way to show that you’re still on good terms with everyone, and it shows effort to make amends. You’ll also find it leaves everyone with a good last memory of you.

Thanks

You should also always thank your employers for your time there. No matter how you feel about the company when you’re leaving and even if you are leaving on bad terms, remember that these people provided you with your livelihood for that time and gave you employment when there are other people out there who can’t find work. This means that it’s only polite and graceful to say thank you – and apart from anything else it’s simply the classy thing to do.

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Adam Sinicki

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