Telling your boss
- Pick the best time to speak to your boss.
- Work out a sound explanation for your departure. Be sure you know what you will state as your reason(s) for leaving and keep it brief.
- Stay positive, mention the opportunities you were given and review the good experiences you have had with the company.
- Prepare for unexpected reactions from your boss. No matter what anybody says, it always comes as a bit of a surprise.
- Keep your poise. Speak in a decisive and serene tone and remain calm.
- Avoid get into any personal details about anybody in the organisation.
- Stay on track. Remember you are there with the sole purpose of ending one chapter of your career. Hysterics and anxiety are a waste of energy.
- Don’t forget to breathe!
- End on an optimistic note, perhaps wishing them well for the future or reminding them of your willingness to ensure a smooth transition.
- Make your last impression a good one.
- Always confirm your verbal resignation in writing.
- Writing things down can make it much easier for you to clarify your message and enables you to re-think and re-work it until you are happy.
- Make it clear and concise.
- Include your name, today’s date and when your last day will be.
- Address it to your boss personally. Advise that you wish to end your employment and sign it.
- State simply and clearly the reason(s) for your resignation eg. furthering your career, wanting new challenges, moving interstate or whatever the reason might be.
- Provide a reasonable amount of time for notice and ensure it is in line with any obligations you might have under your terms and conditions of employment.
- Hand in the letter personally.
- If you are leaving on good terms, you may wish to include a bit more like some personal thoughts direct to your boss if they have been great leaders or mentors. You might like to thank them for the opportunities you have been given. Maybe the organisation has been a fantastic employer and you want to say so in your letter.
- If your experience has not been a great one, don’t cover any of this in your letter. Avoid getting into any personal details about anyone in the organisation. Hysterics and anxiety are a waste of energy.
- If you do have constructive criticism of the organisation or your boss, the exit interview is a more appropriate forum.
- Even though this is the time to open up and give feedback to the company, you will still need to be polite, rational and respect the person who is interviewing you.
- Give reflective comments and provide specific examples to support your comments.
- Make constructive suggestions on how things can improve or be done differently and explain why you think this would improve things.
- Many organisations will have exit interview arrangements to ensure they learn something from employees who choose to leave in order to develop better working conditions.
- You will know yourself whether the process is a genuine attempt to learn and continuously improve on the part of the employer or is being completed by someone under duress.
- Participate in the process if you wish to (it is not compulsory). Your input and the output for the employer will inevitably be driven by the nature of your relationship.
Before you leave
Some things to remember before you head out the door:
- Settle your remaining pay and other benefits such as holiday entitlement, company car, company credit cards, mobile phone, health fund etc.
- Complete the work you have been assigned where it is possible to do so. Upon departure, make sure that there is someone to follow up your work even if you cannot finish it yourself.
- Farewell your colleagues. Maintain or update their contact details so that you can remain in contact with them in future.
- Ask for a reference letter.
- Maintain a positive attitude until the end.
- Avoid talking about your new job too much to your current employer or colleagues. Remember, they will continue to work there and may have their workload adversely affected in the short term by your departure.
- If your company is prepared to make you a counter-offer, you will need to consider it carefully.
- Remind yourself of the reasons why you resigned in the first place.
- Check whether the reasons for you resigning have been addressed fully by the counter-offer.
- Are you confident things will really change for the better?
- Do you really want to remain if these proposed arrangements are put in place?
- Make sure you won’t be perceived negatively because of your resignation if you do decide to accept the counter-offer. There may be the chance your ongoing loyalty might be questioned by your employer.
- If you have already resigned once, will you be tempted to continue to look for alternatives in the future.
- Consider how withdrawing an offer of employment you have accepted elsewhere might impact your career. Your paths may cross somewhere down the line with negative consequences.
- If you are convinced you are making the right long-term decision, accept.
- If you are not, decline and move on.