Be discreet. If you’re interviewing for other roles, do it in your own time. Take time off as holiday if you need to, but don’t be tempted to call in sick or pretend you have a medical appointment. And don’t tell your colleagues you’re leaving until you have a firm job offer and have gone through the official channels.
Be official with your resignation. Write a formal letter to your manager explaining why you are leaving (you can be vague if the real reason is that you can’t stand your boss!). Thank him or her for the opportunity and the experience you have gained in your role. Check your contract for details of the required notice period and state your leaving date in the letter. If appropriate, give details of your next role. The chances are, your manager will be asked to give a reference so there’s little point being cloak and dagger about it!
Ask to meet with your boss privately and hand over your resignation letter in person. Be prepared to answer questions and to discuss any counter offers that may be put on the table. You may also need to prepare for a negative reaction from your boss, including being placed on immediate gardening leave if that’s the normal protocol.
Be diligent in your final days. Even if you know you’re leaving, you should give 100% to your work until your time there is complete. Don’t be tempted to sit back and watch others do the work while you daydream about your future role.
Be obstructive. Whether or not you were treated to a good handover when you took up the role, make it as easy as possible for the next person to take over. Leave clear instructions and be prepared to offer hands-on training if there is a crossover period. It may be that your colleagues will be filling the role until a replacement can be found. If so, lighten the load for them. Provide details of logins, where important documents can be found, how certain tasks are usually carried out and any upcoming deadlines. They’ll really appreciate it, and it’ll help you leave on good terms.
Be critical. If you’ve had a bad experience in your job, it can be tempting to share your gripes with colleagues or even on social media. Don’t do it! You never know when it will come back to bite you in the butt. Imagine if you put your future role in jeopardy because your manager overheard you gossiping or an online rant came to the attention of your prospective boss. If you have to vent, take your mumblings to God or confide in someone you trust outside the workplace.
Burn any bridges. Ideally, you will leave on such a positive note that your colleagues will speak highly of you long after you’ve left and your company will keep the door open for you in case you ever decide to return. If that’s not realistic, do your best to maintain a positive attitude and avoid giving anyone a piece of your mind, however tempting it might be. Not only is it right to be gracious, but you never know when you might need a reference or a business contact from your current firm, so try to leave in a positive manner. That also goes for your leaving do if you have one!
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