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Edison Hill

“I quit!”

You’ve probably either heard about someone making an explosive resignation – or may even have seen it for yourself.  Unfortunately, the situation where you resign in haste doesn’t do any of the protagonists any good.

The company suffers, especially if you’re in a key role and, whilst you may not be concerned about that in the heat of the moment, you could regret your actions when you need a reference later on.

You suffer – unless you’ve been very, very smart and got a new role already lined up.  There’s bound to be a period out of work while you search for your next role.  The danger of grabbing the first opportunity that comes along in order to pay the rent won’t do your career progression much good.

Hopefully, when you decide to move on, it will all be done with decorum – and end up with everyone feeling positive about the situation.  Here are five key resignation strategies to follow:

1Talk to your boss first – not your work colleagues. It’s good manners and makes sense so that the company can manage the communication of your exit as they wish.  This will avoid gossip, inappropriate discussions about who will get your job and other unprofessional situations.  It may not be a ‘careless talk costs lives’ situation, but it can certainly cause ripples in the organisation.  Your boss will appreciate your courtesy.

2Treat it as a formal process – it’s effectively the termination of your contract. Don’t just wander into your boss’s office and announce you’ve got a new job.  Ask for a meeting and explain why you’re leaving.  Give them plenty of notice, especially if you know your role will be challenging to fill – even if your contract says ‘one week’s notice’ aim to give them a month if possible.  The more senior your role, the longer notice period you should give the company.

3Be prepared to take part in an exit interview – and be honest and constructive, not flippant and critical. If things aren’t working for you consider your successor – explaining where there are problems and why they’re problems could make a real difference.

4Make sure you hand over everything properly with all the details before you leave – including your log in details for computers, websites, software applications, etc. Also all client information, contact names, profiles and ‘inside information’, project progress updates and aim to have cleared or completed as much as possible before your final day.

5Treat your notice period professionally – don’t snipe about the company or colleagues, keep working, don’t give anyone any reason to see you as anything but the professional you are. Make sure you say goodbye personally to your colleagues and boss (and maybe your boss’s boss) and any key contacts in other departments.  If you’ve done everything right and left a rosy glow behind it leaves the door open for a return sometime in the future – you never know!

Good luck!

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