Job Resignation Mistakes: How Not to Walk Away

By Bob Evans
In June 21, 2017

If you are anything like me, leaving your current company for a new opportunity is not as easy as most people think. Most of us have forged relationships with our co-workers and bosses, have dedicated countless hours to that company and want to see whatever we are working on through until it turns into something great.

However, sometimes there are circumstances that come up which cause many professionals to start looking for opportunity outside of their company. Promotion opportunities, financial reasons, family reasons, relocation and more usually power the ultimate decision to move on from your current company to a new one.

When the decision has been made to leave your company and accept a new position, there is one thing professionals do not want to do above all others—burn a bridge with their current employer. You never know who your current bosses or coworkers speak to on a regular basis or where their careers will take them, so they could end up being very valuable references and networking contacts in the near future.

With this in mind, there is a common question always asked to our team here at NexGoal—how do I quit?

Walking away is never an easy thing to do. We get even more questions from professionals we place in jobs all the time. How much time of a notice should I provide? Should I do it in person or through email? When should I tell the team? What happens if they offer to match my new salary offer?

The answers to all of the above questions are not easy, as they can change from situation to situation. But, we do have a few suggestions on how not to quit your job when you have decided to move on.

Do not send an email out of nowhere

In some situations, employers can see your move coming—but in others they have no clue. The last thing you want to do as a professional is to surprise them with an email out of nowhere to start or end their day. It could cause a knee jerk reaction and completely interrupt operations.

Instead, you should ask to speak to your direct report manager in person for a few moments. In this discussion, you should make them aware of the fact you are leaving the company right away. Thank them for the opportunity to work with them, and then inform them the new opportunity has come along and why it is important for you to take it.

Do NOT use this time as one to vent about all the things you have hated about working there, no matter how much you want to. This conversation is about being professional and maintaining a positive relationship with someone you have likely worked closely with for a long time. If you feel the need to vent about the negatives, save it for the exit interview with the human resources department.

Do not tell your colleagues before you tell your boss

In most places of employment, we become friends with the people we work with. That means you have conversations with them on the side about all things work and potential opportunities outside of the office.

While the majority of these conversations usually never amount to anything more than usual office banter, if the situation does arise where you are actually going to leave, you should wait until you have informed your boss before you tell your colleagues.

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The last thing you want to do is become a distraction in the office, and that is exactly what will happen if you tell your colleagues before you tell your boss. Office gossip happens everywhere, and you will become the center point of it—up until the point where it gets back to your boss somehow before you have told him. This creates a potential feeling of disrespect and betrayal, and goes directly back to the point we made in the section above this one.

There is a time and place to tell your colleagues you are leaving, which you should discuss with your boss when you tell them first. They will likely want to call a meeting at the end of the day to inform everyone as a group that you have decided to move on, which will give you an opportunity to manage the “shock factor” all at one time.

Do not let your emotions come out in the notice

When you actually write the official notice with your intention to leave and exit date on it (after you have informed your boss), some professionals think of this as a time to inform human resources of the good and the bad of their tenure there. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news—that is not the time either.

Your notice you should be short and to the point. A good example would be, “Please accept this as my notice of resignation from Company X. The last few years have given me great opportunities and a chance to work with a great team, but I have decided to move on. My last day of work will be (insert date here).”

I know what you are thinking right now, you have likely written that long, gushing notice where you told human resources how great it was to work there, how you will miss everyone and much more. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what you have done in the past, but moving forward you should adopt a more concise method and save all of the pleasantries for when you are talking to everyone in person.

Final Word

Leaving a company is never an easy thing to do, but no matter how you feel about your current situation you should do everything in your power not to burn bridges on the way out the door. You can ensure a smooth transition and positive relationship management for the future by taking the three steps outlined above.

Will doing these things guarantee that everyone likes you and nobody is mad at you for leaving? Absolutely not, there are always going to be bosses and colleagues that feel that way. But the more professional you act as you leave, the better you look in the long run when it comes to your career.

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Bob is the Digital Content, Marketing Manager for NexGoal and has been writing in the digital world for 10-plus years.