The Do’s and Don’ts of Handing in Your Resignation

05 June 2017

Resigning is a sticky business, isn’t it?! If you’re a person who has ever been employed there is a very likely chance you’ve wanted to leave a job before. Be it for positive reasons like a promotion elsewhere or simply because you’ve had enough of your current situation; the day you do it comes with a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Getting it right can save you a spiral of unwanted repercussions and further encourage you to reach your career dreams. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to gear you up for the most positive outcome.

DON’T accept a counter offer because it’s the easiest option
It’s common for managers to counter offer and negotiate a new package deal when you tell them you are leaving. Strongly consider your options here. Statistics show that of people who did accept a counter offer, 93% left within 18 months and a huge chunk of that leave within as little as 6 months. The thing is, whilst a counter offer might seem tempting (let’s be honest, because it’s the easiest option) the novelty of your new package will wear off fast. You’ll still be in the same company, with the same challenges, the same commute, and the same management team.

DO start the physical move before the day you resign
Get rid of all your old papers, note books and desk decorations like family pictures under the guise of a spring clean. Leave a minimal amount that you can clear in 10 minutes and leave nothing precious to you. Doing it in front of your manager after you’ve handed in your resignation is awkward and you’ll likely rush it and miss things. The reality is, you may expect to be there for the notice period on your contract but you never know how they will react. An expected 4-week notice period may be reduced to a single day. It happens a lot, don’t let that happen to you unprepared.

DON’T forget to clear your desktop and computer files before you resign
Let’s be clear, most documents that you work on are company property so get those up on the shared company file. Email any personal documentation to and from your personal email address or put it on a USB stick. Ensure you turn off your Google ‘password remember’ feature and log out of all your social media and personal email accounts. Ensure you have logged out of your company email to prevent anyone sending emails from your work account after you have gone. Clean your computer so you are ready to walk away in the instance of being abruptly denied access to your computer and the company IT system at any time.

DON’T forget to confirm any pay owed to you before you resign
Clarify your last pay cheque, bonus, commission, pension or overtime owed as much as you can before you resign. You can do this as a general finance query and do so over email so you have it in writing. Find out as much as you can before you go. Once people know you are leaving they are less likely to negotiate, and with you not there, it can take much longer to sort out any outstanding issues and get the paperwork done.

DON’T burn bridges
Why? Why do it? You’ve got what you wanted which was to leave, so do so gracefully. Burning bridges could have repercussions for future references as some employers want a background check from multiple former employers. As well, it could damage your reputation in the industry. Your industry is a small world and you never know who you may encounter in the future. You never know why you may need to call on a former employer so keep things sweet.

DO thank them for the opportunity
Good or bad. You learned something whilst you were there. Every experience is a learning experience and they still gave you an opportunity to learn something.
Plus, this ties in nicely with the ‘don’t burn bridges’ point.

DON’T fall into the trap of exit-interview feedback
If you have negative reasons for why you are leaving then it is helpful to provide some feedback. However, keep it to less than 2 points. Choose your points wisely and don’t pick anything out you know they can’t or won’t change. Bringing up more than 2 points will come across as a rant and they will get defensive. Ensure you soften your tone and use positive language when providing negative feedback. Practise what you are going to say in front of a trusted friend or colleague first. Sandwich negative feedback between positive feedback so its not all negatives and leaves a better feeling afterward. If you are in doubt about how anything will be received, best not to say anything at all.

Simon Broadway, International Sales Manager, Projectus Consulting