Resigning from your job is a difficult task and if you are not careful and you don't do it in a proper way it can create bitter feelings between you and your employer, recriminations on both sides and often, a bad reference. Thus one must adopt the correct and proper etiquette of resigning from the job which ultimately will help go a long way in ensuring continued success in both your personal and career development.

Points to consider before taking the plunge

  • Are you serious about leaving? Make a list of reasons as to why you should resign.

  • Will you be better off in your new job? Consider money, exposure, opportunities and personal development as the main factors.

  • Talk to your family. How do they react? Listen to your heart.

  • How is your career going? Talk to the boss or your Personnel / HR Manager to assess how they think you're doing.

  • Always consider your work satisfaction and interest. Are you happy working there or not?

  • Would you leave if you were offered more money or a promotion?

Approaching the boss (oral resignation)

  • Always plan your moves. Think in advance as to what you will be saying and then stick to it. The boss will try and probe you for more information and try to find out why you want to leave. Don't be obstructive and rude but simply make it clear that you are submitting an oral resignation and that you do not wish to continue working there.

  • Emphasise the positives and keep good relations. You never know when you might have to cross paths with your former employers so don't dwell on the negative aspects of your time at the firm.

  • Expect a reaction: unless your boss is expecting you to resign, your decision may come as a surprise. The boss may get emotional or even confrontational in which case, stick to your prepared comments and retain your composure.

  • Always leave the meeting on a good note and be as co-operative as possible. Stress that you will undertake to finish or handover any uncompleted work to the best of your ability. People remember both the first and last impression you make on them so make sure that you leave a good impression on the people you worked with.

Handing Over the Resignation Letter

  • A resignation letter should be as simple as possible and only include the following information: name, date, the person it is addressed to, notice of termination of employment, when this is effective from and finally, your signature.

  • If you're leaving in good situations and feel that you should add a bit more then, emphasise the positive feelings - perhaps thank the boss for the opportunities he / she gave you. This will help maintain good relations with your ex-employer and you never know when you may need your ex-employers help again in future.

  • If however, you're leaving in strained or bad circumstances, resist the temptation to badmouth and lash out at your employer. Never commit these thoughts to paper - your comments will remain in your personnel file and may come back to haunt you. So don't get personal.

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