Offboarding - the rules for professionally resigning from your company

In today’s market place where you may work remotely on a virtual team and your boss may be hundreds if not thousands of miles away people are struggling with just how to resign professionally. OK some aren’t, but they’re the ones who will type “I QUIT” on a piece of paper with a 72 font size and sign their name. So we won’t listen to them since we’re trying to not burn any bridges and we would prefer to have people say good things about us after we’re long gone.

The first rule is to remember that IT’S PERSONAL - Many managers don’t just think you’re quitting the company, but that you’re quitting them and understanding this will help you plan how you want to handle the resignation process.

Secondly this is your meeting - So you’re in charge of scheduling it with your boss and then running it, and that means no matter how difficult or smoothly you think it will go create an agenda and your talking points and stick to them throughout.

Next is to prepare for the unforeseen twist….THE COUNTEROFFER! At this point you should know that you don’t want one and won’t accept one, but even when that’s the case some people freeze like deer in the headlights because they don’t know how to professionally let there boss know that “while I’m flattered that the company would like to retain me this is a decision that I’ve made and I am looking forward to my new career path”. You can use that and yes it’s really that easy!

Finally when posed with the dilemma of not being able to resign in person you should:

  1. Do everything possible to make sure your boss is aware prior to everyone else in the company
  2. Try resigning to their boss (immediately follow this up with an emailed resignation letter and an explanation to your boss).
  3. Finally the order of communication techniques is as follows:
    1. In person; face to face…this is the ideal way to resign.
    2. over the phone (followed by immediately emailing the resignation letter)
    3. email (after a non specific voice mail has been left)
    4. That’s it! No IM, No fax & of course no resignation video posted on YouTube. Understand that you’ve put the information in their hands and it is now up to them to contact you.

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