Tuesday, April 23, 2013

50 Ways to Leave Your Employer…

Just slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan. You don't need to be coy, Roy. Hop on the bus, Gus. You don't need to discuss much. Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.

Paul Simon could have easily been talking about the resignation process with these song lyrics. When you’ve accepted an offer of employment and are preparing for your resignation with your current employer you experience all sorts of emotions. While it should be an exciting time often it creates a bit of anxiety.

What will the reaction be of your boss? Well, typically you can expect three different potential responses.

The quilt trip: “How could you do this to me?”
The angry boss: “Get your things and get out of here.”
The good boss reaction: “Hey congratulations. I’m very happy for you. I wish you the very best.”

Just like anything if you know what could be coming you can best prepare yourself. So just knowing these are the likely possible reactions you can be prepared on how to handle. But experience has shown over these years that  there is a certain way to approach the resignation that will help the process go smoothly for you.

First, prepare a resignation letter. For example, I suggest this wording:

“Mr. or Ms. (Name):

I respectfully submit my resignation to be effective (Day and Date).

The reason for my resignation has nothing to do with you as my supervisor or with (ABC Company) as an organization, but rather it is due to an exceptional opportunity, which I have accepted, that is more in keeping with both my personal and professional goals.

I have enjoyed my association with (ABC Company) and wish all those employed by the organization much future success.”

You hand the letter to your boss. They may ask, “What is this?” You simply say, “please read the letter.” The letter diffuses the situation by not making it personal regardless of whether it is. The reason for my resignation has nothing to do with you…. These are powerful words. Telling your boss that they nor the company have anything to do with your decision. Instead, it is all about… an exceptional opportunity.  In addition, an exceptional opportunity that “I have accepted”. You've committed to this new opportunity. That often helps defuse the opportunity for your boss to propose a counter offer. Not always but it can give them the message that you are committed to this new opportunity.

So remember, you called the meeting. You don't need to discuss much. Just drop off the key, Lee and get yourself free. It will feel as though a heavy weight has been lifted off your shoulders once you’ve resigned.


  1. what if you want a counter-offer?

    1. Interesting question actually. My question back would be, why would you proceed through the entire process of interviews and securing an offer unless you wanted to make a change? And why would you want a counter? If you were worth the salary before you presented your resignation you should have been making that money already. Statistics show that seldom does a person end up staying much over 6 months if they accept a counter. Either the reasons why the person was looking to begin with resurface, or the employer feels as though the employee is no longer loyal and soon thereafter finds a replacement and let’s them go. If you are only securing an offer to leverage your current employer and that’s why you want a counter, shame on you.

  2. I like the wording suggested for tge letter or resignation. At my husband's current job at least 50% of those who choose to leave do it by simply not showing up. He keeps telling them (as he's 20-30 yr older than many co-workers) that we all I've in a small world - you never kniw who you may encounter again in the future, even if you change your industry or move. A letter such as you suggested shows respect which us vital. I've re-hired people who previously resigned, BUT only those who exited with class and respect

  3. And if they ask where you are going - are you obligated to let me know?

    1. Great question. Absolutely not. And in fact I would strongly recommend against doing so as this only provides them an opportunity to try and trash the other company. Simply say, “I appreciate your question, however at this time it has not been announced within the company so I must keep that confidential.”