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.
I’m going to be honest, resigning from a job is probably never going to be easy. It’s a difficult decision and a hard conversation to have with your boss. I know that every job is different, and every boss is going to take the news differently, but there are a few things that you should do to ensure that you’re leaving the company on good terms.
How to Resign on Good Terms
The following tips can help you resign without putting your company in a bad position.
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. A good time to share the reasons you are resigning is during your exit interview.
Bonus tips: I recommend reading this guide on what to do before your last day of work. This has additional personal and professional tips to follow when you leave your job. This includes things such as getting professional references, wrapping up your projects or handing them over to your coworkers, building a continuity binder, meeting with HR regarding benefits, and more.
Things to Avoid: Not only are there some good practices for resigning your job, there are also quite a few things that you should avoid doing when you’re leaving your job. As I mentioned about not burning bridges, not only should you not say anything bad about the company, but you should avoid trying to say anything bad about your coworkers or other supervisors.
When a lot of people resign, they start listing off all of the problems that they could no longer deal with. They start with their coworkers or the working situations. Sure, that might be one of the main reasons that you’re quitting, but you shouldn’t start listing off every grievance that you’ve had.
If you handle everything properly, hopefully you’ll be able to leave your company on good terms and keep some of those relationships that you’ve built.