By Jack J. Kelly
You have endured a long and arduous interview process lasting over six months. It’s been painful at times being verbally poked, prodded, and pestered by 10 different interviewers, but worth the time and effort as you received an offer.
Now comes the relatively easy part. You need to give notice and tender your resignation in a professional manner. No matter what you think about your boss, the company, coworkers, or the time spent there, you must play the game by remaining graceful and polite. I understand that you would love to really tell everyone what you think about them, but please resist the temptation- as you don’t want to burn any bridges.
Keep your emotions and any simmering hatred in check and just focus on writing a simple, straightforward resignation letter and then get the hell out of there.
Start off by letting your supervisor know that you appreciated everything he did for you (even if all he did was make your life miserable). It would be nice to cite some examples (hopefully, there was at least one thing he helped you with) of what you learned and list accomplishments that you are proud of (if any).
Then, provide the date which will be your last day in the office. It’s customary to provide two weeks’ notice. If you are at the VP level or higher, it is expected by management to spend more than two weeks at the company assigning over work and projects. It is not mandatory and the company can’t force you to stay, but since this is within general standard procedures, you don’t want to be that person who left in a plume of smoke leaving everyone in the lurch.
The extra notice period will enable you to shift the workload onto others and get people up to speed with the work you’ve been doing. If you have been coasting for the last few months, as you have been so over your job, then two weeks should be more than enough. You want to leave stuff for others, even if it’s make-believe work, so that they don’t question if you’ve done any work at all. Also, you can use this time to leave a little early, take a longer lunch, and mentally and emotionally coast. In addition to the two weeks’ notice, you could tack on an extra week for your mental health.
Remember to check if there are any “garden clauses” or requirements to stay for a long period of time with the company or if there are any other restrictions.
Be polite, gracious, and succinct, as there will be more time to discuss things in detail with your boss and human resources at a later date.
Here is a sample email to send to your manager:
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I am writing to notify you that I have accepted a position with another company, and hereby tender my resignation. My last day of work will be ____(the date of two or more weeks).
Thank you for the opportunity to work at _____(your company) and I greatly appreciate everything that you have done for me. It was a pleasure to have worked for you. You have taught me valuable lessons and helped my career in many positive ways.
While I was not actively searching, an opportunity presented itself, which I was unable to turn down as it would be a big step forward for me professionally and financially. Although I have greatly valued the opportunity to work with you, unfortunately, this is an opportunity I can’t turn down, as it would be a disservice to my family and myself.
I hope you understand my situation and will wish me the best of luck in this new endeavor. Please accept my sincere thanks for all that you have done for me during my time working for you. I would be more than happy to assist in the transition period and welcome any questions you may have as you look for a replacement.
Thanks again for your understanding.
The Exit Interview
By Jack J. Kelly
Once your manager reads the resignation letter, you will most likely be asked to attend an exit interview with your boss and/or a human resources representative. Be prepared, as giving notice and navigating a counter-offer is tricky.
In the exit interview, you want to be positive, professional, and nice. Don’t fall into a trap by saying anything that could be misconstrued as you are leaving angry. Both parties may try to get you to open up about certain things. Don’t fall for their traps. There is really no upside to now start telling them about all the dreadful things that were going on. If there were some serious issues, then you should let them know. Otherwise, if it is usual corporate nonsense and annoyances, let it pass. Think of yourself as politician delicately trying to say nice things without hurting anyone’s feelings, even if it isn’t all true.
No matter what, avoid saying things like:
My manger was a mean, terrible, awful person because he did….
Management didn’t care about us at all.
My boss never did any work. I think he used to drink in the office.
I hated my coworkers. Here is what they did all day…
Did you know that ___ and __ were having an affair?
Good luck, without me, the whole division will fall apart.
Well, since this is a sinking ship, I wanted to jump off before it was too late.
The technology was old, the furniture was out of style, the carpet was worn, and ….
I never said anything, but do you know about the huge mistake ___ made?!
You guys were so cheap. The new company is paying me so much more.
Your business model is going the way of the dinosaurs.
I don’t have any opinions about working here.
You should speak to ____, she is really unhappy. So is ___. I think they are going to leave too.
Best of luck with your new job!