My wife recently informed her boss that she will be resigning her position to become a stay-at-home-mom. My wife put a lot of thought into the decision to be a stay-at-home-mom and in the end we decided that was the best decision for us and for our child.
She was very nervous about giving her resignation. She had only been with her company for about two years, and she felt like she was bailing out on them after only being there for a short period of time. She also worried what others might think about her leaving.
These are rational thoughts, but I reminded her that she is not “bailing out” on them – she is resigning to be a stay-at-home-mom which is a wonderful opportunity. But her heart was in the right place. It is important to resign on good terms; you never know what will happen in the future and you want the last impression you leave to be a good impression.
How to resign on good terms
Inform your boss first. The last thing you want is your boss to hear about your resignation through the grapevine. Have the courtesy to inform him or her before telling your coworkers. The same thing goes for other important life events, such as telling your boss you are pregnant.
Put it in writing. It’s a great idea to tell your boss in person, but it’s also good form to formalize your resignation by giving your boss a resignation letter. The letter doesn’t need to be long or dramatic – keep it simple, polite, and firm. Here is an example of how to write a resignation letter.
Give plenty of time. My wife is resigning from her position because she is expecting our first child. Since we know she will not be coming back and it is illegal for them to use her pregnancy as an excuse to fire her (see Pregnancy Discrimination Act), she should give her manager a reasonable amount of time to prepare for her departure. In her case, she will be giving about a month and a half notice. If you are resigning under other conditions, you may wish to stick with the standard two week notice.
Prepare a transition plan. My wife is currently putting the finishing touches on her continuity binder, which gives instructions for her major responsibilities, contact numbers, and other important information her replacement will need. This helps make your transition a smooth one and makes for minimal downtime when you leave.
Never burn a bridge. You never know what the future will bring and burning bridges never helps anyone. You can offer constructive criticism about the company, but avoid blasting anyone. It might feel good, but it can only hurt things in the long run.