How to leave a job

For good or ill, there will come a time to leave your current workplace. You might have secured yourself a bright and spangly new position you’re terribly excited about, perhaps you are moving away or even emigrating to a different country altogether. Or maybe the moment has come for you to embark on some very exciting travels or you could be taking time out to spend more time with your family.
Whatever the reason for leaving there is a right and a wrong way to handle proceedings. Even if you’re certain that never in a million years will you be tempted to darken their door ever again it’s a good idea to leave things on the best terms possible. Especially as we live in the age of LinkedIn recommendations and such.


The Wrong Way

Because it’s wonderful to dream, especially if the reason you’re leaving is because your position has become unberable.
You flounce into your line manager’s office or workspace, demand their immediate attention and then onto their desk you fling your hastily scrawled note of:

Dear Boss Man/Lady (delete as applicable)

Or possibly even:

Take this job and stick it wherever you like.

You then go on to spend the remainder of your time then gossiping, disrupting others and generally doing absolutely anything to avoid getting any of your real work accomplished. Finally, on your last day you take the opportunity to let absolutely everyone there know exactly what you think of them.

The Right Way

Although this method is less fun and takes a lot more time and planning, it will leave you with your professional reputation intact.

Your resignation letter

Once you’ve made up your mind that you’re going you’ll need to make it official with a letter of resignation. Even if you and your manager have a fairly relaxed relationship this is an important formal document and the language should reflect this. It may need a little finesse if what you had in mind was something along the lines of the examples above.
There are plenty of templates available online for you to use in constructing your resignation letter but the general idea is to keep it relatively short and sweet. This is not the arena for lengthy explanations or recriminations. All you really need to is to state that you’re resigning from your current position and what your proposed finish date is with regards to your notice period.
It’s also a good opportunity to extend your thanks to your manager for opportunities you’ve had over the course of this role. This is one of the ways to make sure you don’t burn bridges on your way out and to even keep the door open for a return should you need or want to one day.


Counter offers

Once you’ve notified your manager of your plans to leave you may need to brace yourself for an attempt on their side to change your mind. They may well not want to lose you, not to mention how long or expensive a process it would be to replace you. This persuasion will most often come in the form of a counter offer.
A straightforward bump in salary is the most likely temptation but other inducements can end up on the table. These can include a new job title, greater responsibilities, a high level of involvement in different projects or mentoring opportunities among many more.
Counter offers can be extremely tempting in a number of ways. There’s always a fear factor involved when it comes to leaping into the unknown. Sticking with a job you know well and can do is a safe choice. A fatter payslip or a promotion heading your way that much sooner may feel good in the short term but the reasons why you initially wanted to leave aren’t just going to melt away.
Indeed, a very high proportion of people who accept a counter offer will ultimately leave their present company within six months or so. A resignation, even one that is withdrawn, changes the dynamic. Your loyalty will be called into question and that salary bump will probably replace an annual increase or even a scheduled bonus.

Exit Interviews

Many companies will hold a sit down meeting shortly before you go. It’s a chance for them to learn a little bit more about why you’ve decided to go and also to learn about ways they might be able to improve their practices or environment for the benefit of remaining and new staff.
This isn’t an open invitation for you to criticise or disparage. Use it as a chance to consider your time there and offer constructive feedback to enhance one aspect or another of working life at that particular organisation. No one’s trying to interrogate you (and if they end up doing so it’s probably for the best that you are leaving!).
For any advice about leaving a job (or help in finding you a new one), please do get in touch on 01189522792 or email


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