A few times in one’s career, it may be necessary to write a resignation letter. Yet the resignation process can be intimidating, or even disheartening. How do you tell your employer goodbye and stay on good terms, especially if you’ve worked for them for a long time?
1. First off, figure out why you want to leave before you officially resign. No matter if it’s the salary, the commute, the team you work with, your manager, your responsibilities, a lack of creative challenge, or the desire to strike out on your own as a freelancer or entrepreneur, you sought after a new position for a reason. Be clear with yourself --it's not always about a salary! Know what's important before accepting any offer, as you might realize that your current position is still better than a new job for the interim.
2. Schedule a time to speak with your manager. Set up a resignation meeting with your current employer. Present your resignation letter which states your last date and reason for leaving. Wish your manager and the company continued success in the future.
3. Plan your exit strategy. Prepare your exit strategy before meeting with your manager. Create a plan for all the items you are currently handling. Provide a list of all assets, passwords, and works in progress. Have a succession plan -- your exit can provide a great step up for someone else on your team. Reassure your manager that while you will no longer be employed, you want to begin the hand over process as soon as possible. Offer your cooperation on training or documentation for ongoing projects or projected plans. Once you know what needs to be done before you leave, continue working as normal. Although you might feel “senioritis” at your job, don’t change your work ethic!
4. A word on reactions... While many employers will act respectfully upon hearing a resignation, some may not. However they react, you should remain calm and professional. By being prepared for your exit, you can help alleviate some of the stress your manager may be feeling.
5. Don’t accept a counteroffer. If the reasons you stated in point #1 are valid, then accepting a counteroffer doesn’t make sense. Not only does your employer know you’ve been looking to make a move from your current position, but they may think you only wanted more money. And if there are other things you’re unhappy about in your position, like the team or the responsibility, those won’t change even if your salary is higher. Your decision should be final, so don’t leave them room to talk you out of it!
Before deciding to make a move, be certain of your own motivation and opportunities for growth. Once you are certain, it will become easier to plan for your resignation professionally.