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Exit Strategy: How To Plan For Your Resignation

Bravo on your job offer! It is time to leave your current job, manager, and co-workers and move forward. Now, you have the difficult task of notifying your boss and delivering your notice. Those can be tough weeks. You can’t wait to get out of that place and move on to greater things.

Before you do your victory dance and unload your pent-up frustration, design a plan for your resignation. You need a plan to make the notice period bearable and also preserve relationships that may benefit you down the road. Focus on blazing forward in your career and not burning bridges behind you.

Resignation Notice

A proper resignation ranges from two to four weeks. Do not reveal your resignation until you have informed your manager. In your resignation letter, simply say that you appreciate your time at the company, but you are resigning to take another position. Avoid further details about the new job and nix any negative comments about your current job. Your letter will become part of your employee file.

The Meeting

Never e-mail your notice. Ask your manager for time to talk privately. First, state that you have decided to leave for a new opportunity and stick to your plan of staying positive. It is alright to say where you are going, but don’t gloat. If asked about salary, do not feel obligated to disclose it. Present your letter in the meeting.

Keep Your Head Down

The word will spread quickly that you are a “short-timer.” People will assume that you will be slacking. Keep your same strong work ethic. Arrive on time and put in a full day’s work. Avoid the gossip groups. Now that you have resigned, every malcontent in the office will be drawn to you like a magnet. Do not be pulled into the negativity. The best way to survive the notice period is to keep your head down and continue to do your work as you always have.

Leave A Good Legacy

Before you leave, get your desk and office in order. Take time to document ongoing projects and issues that you were handling. Share this information with your manager. Create a list of key contacts and anything else that will help your successor to hit the ground running. These plans will make it so much easier for your manager and your efforts will serve as a nice legacy of your professionalism.

The Exit Interview

An exit interview is standard. Continue your theme of staying positive. Even if asked, don’t share any negative comments and criticisms of your boss, your co-workers, or the company. Your feedback will not result in sweeping reform. Instead, it may risk your reputation and the rapport with your former manager.

You are “out of there,” so leave that negativity in the past. Even in the most horrible job, there are lessons learned and skills gained. Remember to express your appreciation to your manager and your staff. You may work at a company for eight years. However, if you leave in a burst of flames, most people will remember you for how you left rather than all the good work you performed during those eight years. Blaze forward and not backward. You won’t regret it.