Once you have made your decision to quit your job and planned your transition to your new position, the last thing to plan is your resignation. Navigate this tricky situation with as much grace as possible to protect valuable relationships that will support you in your next adventure. Here are the steps:
1. Gradually remove personal information from your office and computer: Your boss could ask you to leave the moment you submit your resignation. Be prepared just in case. Even if you are escorted out of the building by security, you are likely to be able to pack your family photos and favorite flower vase. It’s your list of accomplishments, project templates you developed, and those award certificates that you may not be allowed to take with you if you wait until after you tender your resignation.
2. Write your resignation letter with at least two weeks’ notice: Be courteous, brief, and grateful. Give the specific date that is your final day at work. Make it at least two weeks from the day you submit your resignation.
3. Practice saying your reason: Be prepared for your boss to ask why you are leaving, even if your letter gives the reason. S/he may want to discuss it with you at length. Write and then practice what you will say so that you can remain composed and straightforward. Be honest and professional.
4. Talk with your boss face-to-face: This isn’t the time to phone it in or shoot them an email. Make your boss the first person to hear the news. Don’t let the office grapevine beat you to it.
5. Be prepared for a bad reaction: With any luck, your boss will congratulate you and ask about your new opportunity. If it doesn’t go like that, remember that it’s making them look bad, not you. Get through it without losing your cool. Breathing deeply helps.
6. Take the high road: No matter what your boss does, remain professional. Do the exit interview, if one is offered. Don’t speak ill of your boss, co-workers, or anyone else. Offer only constructive information that will be useful to your replacement.
7. Don’t leave until you leave: Stay engaged. Do your job. Put in your time cheerfully and professionally.
8. Maintain your network: Even after you leave, stay in touch with colleagues to keep your professional network strong. Request recommendations.