Last week I resigned from my job. I had been there for over two years, but it was time to move on.
Why I decided to resign
I decided to resign my position because I was not growing professionally. After job hunting for a couple months, I had a series of job interviews, followed by a couple job offers. One of the job offers required a firm answer this past Friday, so after evaluating the job offers and discussing the opportunities with my wife, I made a decision. I accepted one of the offers and resigned from my current position last Friday afternoon.
How to write a resignation letter
I believe your resignation letter should be simple, polite, and firm. The following is a clean version of my resignation letter (i.e. details removed):
I hereby resign from my position as (insert job title). My last day of employment will be May 23, 2008, two weeks from today.
I thank you for the opportunities I have had with (company name) over the past two years. However, I decided to take another professional opportunity.
I have begun work on a transition plan and will be available to assist training my replacement. If there is anything I can do to make this transition go smoothly, please do not hesitate to ask.
As you can see, this is short, simple, and effective. I told them when I was leaving, I thanked them for the opportunities I had, and I offered to assist in the transition. There really isn’t any need to add more than this unless you are close to your manager and want to add a few minor personal touches. Even then, it is best to limit what you include. You never know who will read the letter.
What you should not include in a resignation letter
You should not include any negative statements about the company, your client(s), your management, coworkers, salary, or other issues you have. You are already leaving the company, so there is no reason to be negative. The only thing negativity can do is burn bridges.
Dealing with resignation questions
My resignation caught my managers off guard. But it shouldn’t have. Several months ago I asked myself if it was time to change jobs? At that point, I had already talked to my management multiple times about a new position within the company and taking on increased levels of responsibility. Since then, I continued to look within the company for more opportunities… but there was nothing available.
When I handed my manager my resignation letter he sat in stunned silence for several moments. I could see him going through several emotions – disbelief, anger, etc. I just sat there in silence while he worked things out. He asked for more details as to why I was leaving, but I kept it to a minimum. I told him I still had to give my resignation letter to his boss, and offered to speak to him after the weekend. I thought it best to let him gather his thoughts before further discussing my resignation.
Never burn a bridge
You will likely have an exit interview with your manager or HR before your final day with the company. This will give everyone (including you) time to gather their thoughts about your resignation. This may be a good time to bring up the issues mentioned above (company, your client(s), your management, coworkers, salary, etc.), but remember to keep everything civil. There is no point for blame. Offer constructive criticism and move on.
I don’t anticipate returning to my current (and soon to be former) place of employment. However, you never know what situations may arise, or who you may run into in the future. It never pays to burn a bridge – especially if you work in a closely knit professional community, such as the community where I work. In my professional community, most high level managers know each other and word travels quickly. I even know a guy how resigned his job, said a few choice words to his former employer and when he showed up to his new job, found out it was no longer there for him. It turns out the manager he cursed was an old military buddy of his new boss. His employment contract was conditional, and apparently he broke the conditions.
Resign gracefully. It is best for everyone involved.