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The moment you realise that a job is never your final destination, it becomes less awkward for you to embrace the reality you’re leaving a job.
It’s a marketplace anyway, so there’s nothing that ties you to a life-long employment contract. There’s always an exit, whether it’s after a few months or many decades.
If you’re ready to leave, then you’re ready to leave. Never feel apologetic about it.
The official way of announcing your resignation is usually in writing. This will usually be specified in your job contract, however, you can take it as standard practise to communicate your intention to leave in writing.
An email to your manager should be sufficient unless there are other HR requirements in the organisation.
Very important - don’t verbally share the news with anyone within the company until you have communicated it officially. It can send mixed signals if your manager hears it from other means. Best it comes from you directly.
Of course you may be asked why you are leaving.
While you are not obliged to share your personal reasons with anyone, it does portray openness and transparency if you share some detail with your manager and your immediate team.
If it’s extra personal, then you really don’t have to. But rather than saying you can’t, simply let them understand it’s a personal decision and you will appreciate if they keep it that way.
Whatever you say, consider an approach that doesn’t make it seem awkward for you.
Every valuable employee carries years of experience and company knowledge that can be difficult to replace. It is exactly why your employer may go lengths to convince you to stay, sometimes going as far as offering to match the salary of the new job you’re looking to move into.
Be prepared for this conversation as you just got roped into an unplanned negotiation.
Whoever you speak to, be clear on your decisions and avoid leading them on.
Elongating the discussions can delay your actual exit. But if the offer is convincing, feel free to think about it carefully.
A lot of leavers fall for the trap of dropping their productivity as they approach their leaving date. Don’t do it. While eyes may not be on you, it won’t look good if you’re seen casually coasting around.
Whatever you had been doing as a valuable employee, keep doing it until the last day of your employment. After all, you are still an employee and you’re expected to fulfil your obligations as one.
Show up early, attend meetings, reply emails and let it be clear you’re not taking advantage of your resignation.
Leave on a high!
It’s always a privilege to work for any organisation, regardless of your experience there (positive or negative).
Send out thank you emails to the colleagues you’ve worked with on the morning of your last day. The appreciation is simply a nice gesture.
Feel free to share details on how they can reach you after you leave.
It is also a good opportunity to ask for LinkedIn recommendations and connects. Take advantage of the opportunity while you’ve got their attention.
For security reasons, most organisations will disable your company access as soon as you walk out the door.
This is exactly why you should remember to take copies of only documents that you own.
Examples include payslips, P60 (tax payment details, if you’re in the UK), training completion certificates etc.
It may be difficult or impossible to reach the company to access the documents after you’ve left so plan to copy them before you leave.
After you leave, don’t attempt accessing the company systems. You’re not authorised to!
Depending on how fast the company can recruit your successor, you may have the opportunity to meet your replacement and be a part of their onboarding process through handover sessions.
This is not always the case, in fact, some employers may not even demand anything from you regarding overs.
It is however very responsible of you to plan a handover process and create handover documents for your successor if your manager approves it.
This also gives you something extra to work on in your final days so you’re not too idle.
A variety of emotions can set in during handover sessions especially if you’re leaving on a not-so-good note.
Nobody has a rule on what you should say or shouldn’t say to your successor but it is in your best interest for you to set them up for success and make your exit as easy as possible.
They will ask you questions and they will need support to bring them up to speed. Focus on the role, tips to aid their success and information to help them succeed.
Avoid speaking negatively as that can be detrimental to both you and your successor.
Focus on what matters!
A lot of people leave jobs and never see themselves going back there. You may just find yourself back there.
I once worked for a company for 7 years, left to work elsewhere, and came back 2 years later to work there for another 18months.
I am very sure I wouldn’t stand a chance of coming back if I left on a bad note. The relationships I built and the work I did previously created the opportunity to return.
I have also worked for different organisations, bumping into previous colleagues too.
Whatever you do, slam doors gently, you never know where the marketplace leads.
Built a CRM Tool. Company Founder. Consultant for Customer Service & Customer Experience
I know how awkward it can be, leaving a company you’ve been working for. I have experienced this a few times. Here are my thoughts on how to make your exit seamless and less awkward.
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