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Leaving with Grace: How to Resign on Good Terms

Posted on November 2019

Man and woman shaking hands at their desks

Resigning from a job can be a daunting prospect, whether you're leaving for better opportunities, personal reasons, or perhaps because you're just not feeling fulfilled in your current position. Whatever the reasons may be, it's crucial to part ways professionally and amicably, maintaining the positive relationships you've nurtured over your tenure. Here are some steps on how to resign on good terms:

1. Reflect On Your Decision

Before making any move, it's vital to reflect on your decision thoroughly. Are you leaving because you've received a better offer, looking for a change, or are you frustrated with your current position? Consider discussing any concerns or issues with your manager or human resources before making the final decision.

2. Plan Ahead

Once you've decided to resign, prepare yourself. Draft a well-thought-out resignation letter that includes your last working day (typically two weeks notice, unless your contract specifies differently). Plan how to hand over your duties, and consider the potential questions your employer may ask and prepare responses for them.

3. Set Up a Meeting with Your Supervisor

Don't resign through email or phone call unless absolutely necessary. Request a private, in-person meeting with your supervisor to break the news. This shows respect for your employer and demonstrates your professional conduct.

4. Communicate Your Resignation Clearly and Professionally

In the meeting, calmly explain your decision to leave. You don't need to go into detail about your new job or reasons for leaving unless you feel comfortable doing so. Maintain a positive tone, express your gratitude for the opportunities you had, and stay away from any negative remarks about your colleagues, manager, or the company.

5. Provide Written Notice

After the meeting, follow up with a formal resignation letter. It should include your last working day and a statement of gratitude for the opportunity. This document is essential for HR processes and can also serve as an official record of your resignation.

6. Assist with the Transition

Offer to help train a successor or prepare detailed handover notes. You might also need to delegate any remaining tasks or responsibilities. This gesture goes a long way towards leaving on a positive note.

7. Stay Professional Until the End

Resist the temptation to slack off in your final days. Continue to perform your duties to the best of your abilities, meet your deadlines, and maintain your work ethics. This will leave a lasting positive impression.

8. Express Gratitude

Before you leave, take the time to thank your colleagues, bosses, and subordinates for their support during your tenure. This could be in the form of a brief email, a personal note, or a casual conversation in the break room.

9. Keep In Touch

Staying connected with former colleagues is good for networking and for maintaining strong professional relationships. Connect with them on LinkedIn, or get their personal contact information if appropriate.

Leaving a job can be an emotional and stressful time, but following these guidelines can help you ensure you part ways on good terms. Remember, the professional world can be surprisingly small. The relationships and reputation you foster today may benefit you further down the line. So when it's time to say goodbye, do it with grace, professionalism, and positivity.

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