Resigning Gracefully

| Updated: April 11, 2022 9:15 am

The year 2021 has been described as the year of The Great Resignation, a term coined to describe the increased number of people who left their job during the pandemic. Professionals resigned in large numbers and continue to do so into the new year for multiple reasons – frustration with the current role, disengaged with the current employer, a demotivating boss, stress/ burnout due to remote working, personal commitments, the new job offers more flexibility or better working conditions, etc.

While you have your reasons for resigning, do remember that besides the why, it’s how you resign that impacts your future relationships with people who in all probability maybe in a position to influence your future career or entrepreneurial journey at a later date. One hears of people resigning via a curt email, those who stomp-off after a yelling match with their supervisor or worse via a Whatsapp message.

Resigning gracefully involves:

  • Reading your contract /employee handbook: Make sure that you clearly understand the departure formalities and are not in contravention of any company rules. If you are moving to another firm, inform your future employer about your date of joining based on your notice period and request them to respect the same.
  • First, the Boss: Schedule a meeting / video meeting with your boss and discuss your reasons for moving, without bringing any negativity into the conversation. Never resign via email, by leaving a voice mail message or a text message, always resign in-person. It’s likely that your boss might get upset at the thought of loosing you. Offer to help in hiring your replacement or training him/her.
  • Next, the Letter: Draft a formal letter, thanking your employer for the opportunity to learn new skills and requesting them to relieve you as you would like to move on. No matter how much you hated your job or your boss, ensure that your letter is neither controversial nor does it appear like an attempt to negotiate a better salary with your current employer. Remember, this email will remain on the company’s records and your boss’s inbox years after your anger has subsided! 
  • Now, inform your co-workers: The worst way to announce your departure is through the grapevine! Inform your co-workers but resist the urge to boast about your new “dream” job, making them feel terrible about being stuck in the same place. Send an email to colleagues you’ve interacted with, informing them about your departure and leave your contact details.
  • During the notice period: Offer to help the new incumbent settle in, if an internal replacement has been assigned the job, and complete all pending tasks, leaving a detailed report of handover. If asked to participate in an exit interview, be honest, but state your reasons for quitting in a business-like manner. Handover all office property in good condition and clean your desk/laptop.
  • Don’t burn bridges: Leave gracefully, ensuring that your boss and colleagues give you a good reference in the future. It’s a wired world, and senior people are connected. Also, do consider the possibility that in today’s evolving business world, your current boss may become your employer again in a few years. Resigning gracefully will help you maintain goodwill and workplace relationships. Take the time to write a personal email to colleagues who supported you at the workplace.
  • At the new Job: Update your online contacts and speak about your ex-employer in a positive vein.
Shital Kakkar Mehra

By: Shital Kakkar Mehra

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