Stay cool.

Are you preparing to resign from your current job? Some job-seekers have a hard time doing so, even if they can’t stand their job or their boss and can’t wait to leave. This is entirely common and understandable as you are entering a period of change but with the right approach, the process of resigning can be made very straightforward.

Strategies for Resigning with Class

The most important job-search rule to remember when resigning from any job is that you never want to leave on bad terms -- if possible. Courtesy, etiquette, and professionalism go a long way. So, as much as you may want to tell off your boss or a co-worker, you should never burn any bridges. And don't spend time bragging to co-workers about your great new opportunity. Job-hunting is a funny process, and you never know when you'll run smack right into your former manager, a former coworker, or a former employer through a merger or other circumstance. So, once you are ready to announce your resignation, how can you make as smooth a transition from your current employer to your new one? You'll again want to act professionally -- and follow company guidelines. Specifically, you need to consider:

  • Timing Give enough notice. The standard notice is traditionally four weeks for many employees, but you should consult your contract of employment to check the exact requirements relevant to you.
  • Negotiating Be sure to get a fair settlement for any outstanding salary, holidays (and sick and personal) days, and bonus payments or other compensation due to you.
  • Hiring Offer to help your current employer find your replacement.
  • Training Volunteer to train or work with your replacement to show him or her "the ropes."
  • Working Don't disappear during the last weeks on the job. Stay an active member of the team. Avoid taking a short-timer's attitude or aligning yourself with any discontented co-workers.
  • Completing Be sure to do your best to complete all open assignments and leave detailed progress reports for your manager and co-workers.
  • Leaving Before walking out the door for the last time, be sure you have contact information for key supervisors and co-workers that you want to keep part of your network of contacts -- and be sure to thank them again for their support. Here are some other issues you need to be prepared for once you announce your resignation:
  • Guilt from co-workers or your boss It's only natural, especially if you are leaving an unpleasant work environment, that your co-workers may be a bit envious and try to make you feel a little guilty. And no matter how great your boss may be, s/he may also make you feel a little guilty for "deserting" the team. Try not to let these things bother you; instead, concentrate on making the final weeks/days pleasant and professional.
  • A counter-offer to entice you to stay Be very wary of counteroffers. No matter how good it makes your ego feel to have your current employer respond with a counteroffer, most career experts advise against taking it because studies show that the vast majority of employees who accept counteroffers from current employers aren't in those jobs for very long or are actively job seeking again after 3 months. Whether the employer admits it or not, your dedication will be questioned, and once that happens, your time on the job is limited. It's better to tactfully decline the offer and focus on your new job with your new employer.
  • Escorted out of the building In some industries and with some professions (such as sales), once an employee resigns, the employer asks the person to leave on the spot. Be prepared for this scenario by clearing personal files and removing personal software from your computer, removing personal information and belongings, and getting your workspace organized.
  • An exit interview Some employers like to have all departing employees meet with someone from the human resources department for an exit interview. Be careful -- but be professional. Some employers want to know the "real" reason you are leaving. Again, remember not to burn any bridges by saying anything negative or petty.