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How to Resign Gracefully


There are 10 key tips to keep in mind if you do decide to quit your job after carefully weighing the pros and cons of such a key decision:

  1. Announce your resignation professionally
    Be very professional and tactful in announcing your resignation and make sure you go through the proper channels of command resigning to your immediate boss first and then announcing your departure to your peers and colleagues. Do not let word of your intention to depart filter through the grapevine before you have announced your intentions to your boss.
  2. Give sufficient notice
    Consult your company's policies and procedures for the proper notice period and make sure you give sufficient notice. If the company asks you to stay a little longer you are under no obligation to but if you have no other pressing priorities it may be a good idea to prolong your stay as a gesture of goodwill to ease the transition and complete any unfinished tasks.
  3. Write a letter of resignation
    Always follow your verbal resignation with a written resignation letter. Make this short, tactful, professional and to the point. Your resignation letter should be sued as an added opportunity to maintain a positive rapport with your old employer; it should not be sued as an opportunity to voice grievances or vent any bad feelings you have towards the company.
  4. Ask for a reference letter
    You don't want to wait till you need a reference to ask for one as people you work with leave and in time you may lose track of them and the stellar work you did for them may be forgotten. Use your resignation time while you are still fresh in the company's mind to ask for all the references you need so you have them in hand when you do need them.
  5. Offer to help find a replacement
    One gesture of good will is to offer to help find a replacement for you. This is usually very well-received as no one knows the intricacies of your job better than you do and you are likely to have more time to devote to the task than anyone else.
  6. Do a proper hand-over
    Make sure your work is well-documented, all outstanding tasks and projects are assigned to the relevant parties and you have done all you can to ease the transition. Make your handover documentation as informative, detailed and polished as possible so you look good to your successor, bosses and peers well after your departure.
  7. Finish important projects
    Don't leave any loose strings. Make sure all important projects are completed or reassigned. You will be remembered positively if you have allowed for a smooth, professional and effortless transition. If you have no immediate next job or assignment that awaits you, offer to stay longer until that important deal or project is closed. Even if you must rush off to your next job after the notice period, you can choose to offer to be available by phone or email or during weekends for a little while after your departure to ease the transition if the company needs you.
  8. Don't bad-mouth the company
    Make sure you leave on good terms and do not burn any bridges. You may well end up working with the same team in some capacity or other in the future or needing their reference so do not take your resignation as an opportunity to bad-mouth bosses or colleagues no matter what you really think of them.
  9. Don't leave your office in a mess
    Clear your office, computer and files before you depart and leave nothing personal behind. Make sure your files are in order and your office, desk and drawers are clean, orderly and ready to be handed over to your successor. If you are not a very organized person by nature, make an extra effort to leave your house in order before you depart so as to leave a positive lasting impression.
  10. Do say good-bye to your colleagues
    Don't leave abruptly - make sure you say your friendly goodbyes to all the people you have shared your days with. Emphasize the positive when you bid your farewells and do not use this as an opportunity to boast about your new pay packet or dig up old grievances or traumas. Leave your peers your contact details so they can choose to stay in touch with you in the future.

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