How To Resign Correctly

Resigning from a job is a necessary evil of being employed. With the average American job tenure lasting 4.2 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s expected most of us will part ways with an employer 10 or more times during our career. How you exit says a lot about you and can play a big role in securing references and networking opportunities for future jobs. This is no time to ghost or cut corners. Here are four tips to leaving a lasting positive impression when you resign.

Resign to the right person. It is tempting to tell your co-workers first that you are leaving. They are more familiar to you and having their support or validation that your exit is justified can make you feel better. Resist the urge to take the easy way out. Resign to the right person – your manager. Here’s why: First, for the rest of your career, both directly and indirectly, potential employers are more likely to want to speak with a former manager than a former co-worker. While having excellent relationships with your co-workers is important, it is the opinion of the person who paid your salary and oversaw your performance that holds the most weight. It is both a sign of respect and display of business savvy that you speak to the person who hired you first when you have decided to leave.

The second reason it is better to resign to your manager first is that she is in the best position to decide the right next steps. Should the rest of the team be notified immediately? Who will take over your responsibilities? Should you attend an upcoming planning meeting? The management team is responsible for creating and implementing the transition plan, so the extra time to strategize is both helpful and appreciated. The key is to tell whoever hired you first, and then collaborate with that person on the communication flow from there.

Timing is everything. Select the day and time to resign by factoring in what is required for your new role and what is the best for your current one. It is not that you need to give more than two weeks’ notice, but think through the most ideal day and time. For example, is it preferable to resign first thing Monday morning before your manager begins going to meetings, or is requesting a meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday after fires have been put out more helpful? An unexpected resignation is always painful for a manager, but time selection can give your boss a few more options when it comes to managing your exit.

Give a reasonable notice. Again, remember that if you exit professionally, you stand to gain a strong reference for life. Asking your new employer for a few extra days so that you can honor a two week exit commitment or wrap up that strategic project will go a long way. It’s rare that a manager will insist someone rush their exit out of their old job to start the new one. How you treat your former employer is a prediction of how you will treat the next.

Be productive during your notice period. You may have been a model employee for 10 years, but if you are a negative distraction during your last two weeks, that is how you will be remembered. You have a choice in how to wrap up your relationship – make it a good one. Show up early, work full days, offer to train someone else or write training notes if a replacement employee has not yet been identified. Take time to thank your teammates, clean your desk and, in general, work diligently. As long as you are being paid, you should be a productive employee.