Resignation process - how to resign from your job

resignation process
These days changing jobs is quite commonplace. Many people change jobs fairly frequently and resigning from one's position no longer has the stigma that was once attached. In fact, some people may have gone through the resignation process, for whatever reasons, a number of times.

Nowadays, staying in the same job for years and years is often viewed as being unambitious, lazy and insecure.

Even so, for those that have gone through the process before and for those that haven't, resigning from a job can be a nerve-racking and unpleasant experience. Not only do you have to pluck up the courage to tell your boss "the news", you have to also try and break it to them at the best time possible (for everyone).
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The right and wrong way to resign

In any kind of business, there are right ways of doing things and there are wrong ways of doing things. Whatever the reason for resigning from your job, it is imperative that you leave on good terms and keep your reputation intact.

However as much as you may want to hurl a computer at your boss and storm out of the office never to return again, you must instead be courteous and diplomatic when announcing your resignation.

If you leave on good terms, you will keep your good name and enhance your standing in the business world.

However, if you leave in a rage amid a torrent of abuse at your former employer, you will have to face the subsequent consequences. An action like this will have serious repercussions that could result in a bad reference, a diminished reputation and negative feelings between you and your former employer. Word could get to your new boss, who could then have serious doubts about employing you.

Don't forget, it's a small world, particularly in business, and especially if you are remaining in the same industry.

Inform your boss first

Ensure that your immediate boss is the first person that you inform of your resignation. You do not want to gossip with your colleagues only to find out when you do tell them that they have already heard the rumours through the grapevine. Request a private meeting with your boss and tell them then - do not announce it during a busy morning in front of the whole floor of staff. Try to arrange the meeting for a quiet time, preferably towards the end of the day, when he or she is more likely to take it well!

During the meeting, ensure that you remain focused and dignified, do not digress and do not react to anything negatively.

Resignation procedure

Decide exactly what you are going to say to your boss and stick to it. Present them with a formal resignation letter that is brief and to the point. It should state your intention to leave and give a date of your final working day. (Consult your company handbook for the correct notice period or see our page on working notice). Ensure that you are positive and thank your boss and the company for giving you the opportunity to work for them and for the experience gained. Under no circumstances should you moan about how you hated the job and that you can't wait to leave.

If the response is not what you expected

If your boss had absolutely no idea of your intent to resign, the news may come as a complete shock. It is possible that they may not take the news that well, and so you should be prepared for possible aggression and confrontation. If this happens, stand your ground and maintain your temper and composure throughout. Tell your boss that you have made up your mind, there's no going back and that you will do your utmost to make sure that the handover process to your successor runs as smoothly as possible.

The counter-offer

Don't be surprised if you are offered a promotion or a pay rise on the condition that you stay in your job.

This is happening more and more frequently in business, as in the short-term, it works out less disruptive and cheaper to keep someone in his job rather than employ another to take his place.

It may be flattering to have your employer begging you to stay, however, if you did remain with the company, your loyalty would always be questioned and you would be the first to go in a redundancy situation.

If you agreed to stay for more money, where would this money come from, and would you be losing out elsewhere? Maybe the money offered, is what you would have received anyway, in bonuses or a pay rise the following year.

Inform your colleagues

Once and only once you have "done the deed" and formally informed your boss of your pending resignation, can you then begin to tell your colleagues your news. If your boss asks you to keep quiet for a few weeks, respect their wishes as much as is reasonably possible. Do not gloat or brag in front of your colleagues, as they are not leaving and will continue to work for your soon-to-be old company. Similarly, do not be negative about the company and your reasons for leaving, as you want to leave on a good note and remain friends with a number of your colleagues.
If you follow the correct procedure when resigning from a job, all should go well. Don't do anything to compromise your good name and ensure that your actions do not result in negative repercussions. Most employers and colleagues will understand completely and be extremely sorry to see you go.
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