Career changes can be unexpected, and one of the most difficult parts about transitioning to a different career path is the resignation process. How do you resign without ruining relationships? What is the proper way to resign while maintaining respect and dignity with your coworkers?

We’ve put together a quick guide to resigning below. For a much more detailed and personalized explanation, reach out to one of our career coaches with a free consultation call.

Discuss the reality with your family and loved ones before anyone else (especially coworkers!)

If you’re unsatisfied with your current job, have a different path in mind, or are transitioning to a new industry, resignation may be on your mind. However, be thoughtful and consider discussing your options with your family and loved ones first, to get outside perspective. Be very hesitant on discussing your options with coworkers however; news travels fast between cubicles, and you should avoid letting personal information impact your ability to work efficiently and properly prior to making any decisions. Our career coaches are also a great option, and available to help any time.

 

Think timing

In general, a rule of thumb for resignations are alerting your management within two to four weeks before your desired departure date. However, this timeline can be particular to your position and the responsibilities you have on your plate. Be sure to plan accordingly; if you know you will need extra time to wrap up a current project or job at work and cannot finish it up prior to leaving the company, you will need to alert and prepare for your resignation much sooner. Be sure to also check any employee handbooks or guidelines for resignation procedures specific to your role. 

 

As soon as the decision has been made, set a time to meet and discuss the choice with your reporting superior

It’s also a great idea to write a resignation letter that details your thought process, and expresses gratitude toward the company and your coworkers for the experience and memories made. This is a crucial step in maintaining relationships after the resignation process is over. Focus on making the decision about personal progress, rather than focusing on work environment or upward mobility. As well, when informing your boss of your decision, make sure he or she is the first person to know of your resignation. It will make the process much more difficult if your boss hears from a coworker of your decision.

Leave a clean slate

Literally, and figuratively. Try to leave your position the way you found it: with a clean workspace and computer, and with your responsibilities handled until your replacement has been found. Go above and beyond and ask your superior if they need any help finding someone to replace you, or with any measures needing to be taken before you move on.

Continue to be a positive and supportive presence in the office

You may be going in a different direction in your career, but your coworkers are not. Refrain from being negative, or too vocal about your excitement toward your new life and position. Remain positive and conversational with your coworkers, and emphasize the meaning those relationships have had in your time at the company, especially leading up to your last day. Consider writing a card or leaving flowers or treats for your closest coworkers, or meeting up outside of work as a final hurrah.

 

So: You’re ready to resign with integrity and good intentions. But, what happens if you’re ready to resign but your current employer provides a counteroffer? Look out for an upcoming blog on counteroffers, or ask a career coach firsthand today.