It goes without saying that if you have felt compelled to look for another job, there are good reasons for you having done so. Maybe your current firm couldn’t offer you the progression to match your ambitions, or maybe you just couldn’t get along with your boss or co-workers. Whatever the reason, it is important to leave the firm well. It is a small world after all, and you just never know when you might cross paths again in the future.
The resignation meeting
You’ve been psyching yourself up for hours, days even, and now finally the time has arrived to tell your boss that you are leaving. Don’t panic. This is often the worst bit, and it will soon be over.
Make sure you have a formal resignation letter prepared in advance of your meeting to hand to your boss. Don’t forget to put the date on it, as this will officially trigger the countdown of your notice period. Email a soft copy of the letter to them afterwards for your own records.
Smile, be pleasant, explain your reasons for leaving and offer thanks for the opportunity you were given.
What to include in your resignation letter
A resignation letter is not an opportunity to flex your novel writing muscles. It should be relatively short, professional, and to the point. That said, there are some practical things you should include, as well as some niceties you might like to add to keep the process as amiable as possible.
- State clearly that you are tendering your resignation.
- Reiterate your notice period and state your contractual date of departure. If you are hoping to secure an earlier leave date, mention here that you would like a discussion about this.
- You may or may not want to explain your reasons for leaving. You are not obligated to do so. However, this is not the place to air any grievances. You can keep it simple, for example, mention you have secured another role that more closely aligns to your future career plans, is closer to home, offers more flexible working etc.. Above all, keep it brief and professional. If you have a good relationship with your boss, you might want to provide a lengthier explanation in person.
- Write something positive. This could be expressing enjoyment of your time with the firm and working with your boss, expressing gratitude for things you have learnt, support you have received or the great experience you have gained.
- It would be a nice touch to wish your boss and your team every future success.
What if my current employer offers incentives for me to stay?
There are a number of ways your current employer can attempt to convince you to stay. More money. Promotion. Promises to rectify whatever it is that went wrong in the first place.
At this juncture, it is important to remember why you wanted to leave in the first place. Those reasons in all likelihood are still valid and whilst it’s easy to bask in the glow of feeling loved and wanted again, in the cold light of day, things may feel different.
It may also feel like too much of a hollow victory if the only reason your employer is now prepared to promote you or pay you more money is because you are leaving.
Be a good leaver
No matter how aggrieved you may feel towards your employer or co-workers, don’t lose your sense of professional pride. Ever. Suck up any negativity and do the best job you can for the duration of your notice period. It won’t last forever.
Be cordial to everyone.
Where possible, finish work that you are able to conclude in the timeframe. Where this isn’t possible, write comprehensive handover notes to the person taking over your work. Ensure they know the current state of play and where everything is stored so they can find things easily once you have left.
Negotiating an early departure
If you would like to leave before the end of your official notice period, it is prudent to mention this in your resignation letter and at your meeting. Ask what work needs to be completed and what steps you need to take in order to secure an early release. Be as helpful, accommodating and genial as possible.
Your employer is of course under no obligation to let you go early, so they will need reassurance that your early departure will not be detrimental to your clients / the team / the firm, if they are to consider it.
If they do agree to a conditional early release, revisit your action steps with your boss every few days to get agreement that you are on track for your desired departure date.
Keep it positive. If you can’t be positive, at least don’t be negative.
Never bad mouth your employer or co-workers in a professional environment. You could end up working together again someday or somehow. Your career will last many years. Don’t ever burn your professional bridges; it’s just not worth the risk.
On your last day, leave the office with handshakes all round and your head held high. This will soon feel like a distant memory and pastures new await…
Sharon Furbank is a Tax Recruitment Director at Buckley Consulting Ltd – Connecting the right people. She was a tax professional herself for many years before specialising in tax recruitment. email@example.com