You’ve just got off the phone with your recruitment consultant. You’ve done it! You’ve landed that great sales role, with that great company. You walk towards your boss’s desk, resignation letter in hand. How do you feel? Elated? bittersweet? Are people starting to stare because you’re doing some sort of celebratory dance?
Before you do start dancing on tables- remember, no matter how much you may hate your current job, the boss or your colleagues, you want to leave gracefully. Not as a reflection of them, but as a reflection of yourself.
While it might feel satisfying in the moment to throw your PC out the window or slam the door- you don’t want to be remembered as that person. In a world of six degrees of separation, bad conduct at one workplace, can easily be heard by that new employer, and could change their opinion of you and might even cost you that great new sales role.
Your Resignation Checklist
Top Tip. Before you resign, make sure the new job is definitely in the bag and you’ve signed on the dotted line. Anything could happen and you could end up with no job if things fall through
Step One: Make sure the new job is in the bag
- If you’re moving to a competitor, make sure you check that you’re not bound to any confidentially, non-compete or stand down period.
- Make sure you’re clear on what your notice period is.
- Before you resign, make sure the new job is definitely in the bag and you’ve signed on the dotted line. Anything could happen and you could end up with no job if things fall through.
Step Two: Resign properly
Make sure it’s your manager that hears the news first and doesn’t hear it from Karen gossiping in the break room. Do it in person and with a letter (either printed or send it over email after you’ve spoken). Doing it in person is out of courtesy and most of the time HR will need it in writing.
Step Three: Important questions to ask
There will be some important things you need to confirm when you resign
- When will the last day be?
- Do you have any holiday owing, will you want to take it or get it paid out?
- When will your final pay be? Will they pay you out early?
- When can you tell your colleagues- Some company will ask you to hold off telling your colleagues for a few days. If you’re asked, respect the company’s need for time. They might need to plan for your replacement, or reshuffle the team
- Make sure you’re clear on any confidentiality agreements you may be bound to
What if they offer you a counter offer? (linked to counter offer article)
Step Four: What to do while serving your notice period
What you should do
- Work out what works need to be completed before you leave
- What to handover and to who
- Tell everyone who needs to know (once your manager gives you the ok)
- Re-establish relationships that might be useful down the line (make sure you know what confidentiality agreement you signed and are bound to
What you shouldn’t do
- Sit back and do nothing.
- Refuse to help
Some companies will ask you to conduct an exit interview. The point of the exit interview is so that the company can better understand areas of improvement or any issues. Be honest but not mean. If you hated someone because the hummed show tunes all day, but was good at their job, don’t mention that. If you felt the pay structure, management or treatment of staff was bad, this is your time to vent those frustrations. It could help the company make changes and make it a nicer place for your colleagues to keep working at.
Why you should leave gracefully
- Because any bad behaviour will reflect on you, not the company.
- Leave on a positive note so you don’t burn any bridges. You never know who you might work with again.
- You want to make sure you’ve got people who’ll give you a good reference
You may have loved working at that company and are sad to go, or you might be counting down the minutes till you can leave. Either way, leave gracefully and as a professional.
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