Recently a coworker handed in his resignation notice. He told some people one story about where he was headed and told some other people another story. Word got out and it now obviously casts him in bad light. He has been with the company for a few years and it’s quite unfortunate that he is ending those work relationships somewhat negatively. It got me thinking, when it comes to closing one chapter of your work life and moving on to the next, how do you resign like a boss?
Let your supervisor be the first to hear of it. Unless you are dealing with a really toxic supervisor or work environment, it’s nice to tell your supervisor first, and then HR. If you work in one of those places that could try to fire you for resigning (if this sounds strange consider yourself lucky), then send an email to HR with your notice attached, copy your supervisor in on the email. Walk over to talk to your supervisor as soon as you send the email.
Tell everyone/tell no one. Pick one of these and never both. If at the time of handing in your notice you do not want to disclose your future plans or the Company you are moving to (due to a non-compete clause, privacy, bad blood), then you can’t afford to tell anyone at all. Do not tell anyone! Not even your work confidante and best friend. In this example, somebody that this guy trusted clearly snitched on him. Who do you think your work ‘friend’ is more loyal to? You, the soon to be ex-coworker or the people that remain at the company with them? Everyone gets the same story. If you must tell a few people, wait until after you have started your new job to give them an update via text or a lunch meetup. Years and years of working your way up and cultivating good professional relationships can go up in smoke if you choose to ignore this rule.
Give a fair notice period. Two weeks is standard. If you have been at the company for less than a year then one week is fine.
Don't immediately announce that you resigned. Don’t announce right at the start of your notice period that you are leaving. If someone walks up to you and says that they heard you are leaving, you can confirm it. Otherwise, wait until the last two days before sending out a mass email thanking everyone and giving them your contact information.
Work the hell out of your notice period. This is not the time to take two hour lunches or be in the bathroom taking phone calls. All eyes are on you. Make sure that you complete every task you have started, as much as possible. For longer projects, clearly document where all important files are, explain the work flow and how far you have gone on the work. If you have some free time (and I really recommend this), try to develop a quick training manual for your replacement that shows procedures, tips, useful information, etc. It can be as short as a few pages or really long depending on how much time you have.
Don't gossip. Your notice period is not a time for you to let Sally from Accounts have it. Anything you say during this period can and will be used against you. Be sure to leave a positive impression with your coworkers. The honest truth is some of your coworkers will be jealous. Don’t give them ammunition to slander you.
Don't steal. Do not try to obtain company documents for your personal use. You could get caught and end up in a messy legal battle. Your new employer should provide you with all the training documents that you will need. Don’t forget to remove all personal documents from your work computer!
Get documents from HR. It is recommended to get a signed letter confirming your dates of employment. Keep it safe with the rest of your vital documents.
Prepare for the worst. I have been walked out of a premises for doing nothing other than turning in a polite two week notice. After almost four years of service and good performance reviews, that caught me by surprise! Luckily for me I was prepared. I had cleaned out my computer of all personal documents, taken all my training certificates, licenses, cups, snacks, textbooks, etc home the day before., All I had to do was grab my purse and walk out. You don’t want to be given a cardboard box to pack your stuff, that’s the real walk of shame. Be prepared!
Use your Health Insurance. Your health insurance will probably be in effect till the last day of the month. Take advantage of that to get your yearly physical, dental checkup and
Be happy. A lot of people continue to stay at jobs that they don’t like because they have no choice or no motivation to move on. Being able to resign from a job that’s no longer the best for you is a privilege. You will feel some sense of loss and a bit of fear for the future. Know that it’s normal and use those feelings as fuel to motivate you to be awesome at your next adventure!