The Employee Journey: How to Resign and Prioritize a Positive Exit Experience

The Employee Journey: How to Resign and Prioritize a Positive Exit Experience

People in 2023 will change their jobs regularly. Around one-third of employees will change jobs every 12 months. 

  • They may not feel fulfilled
  • They may believe that the work environment is toxic
  • They may get a better offer elsewhere
  • Ultimately, they may not feel fulfilled in their current line of work

It’s also possible that it’s none of the things listed above. 

Whatever your reasons may be, you need to leave the right way. Here’s how you should handle this part of the employee journey. Here’s how you should resign to ensure your exit experience is positive

The Employee Journey: How to Resign and Prioritize a Positive Exit Experience
  1. Rethink your decision

Once you decide, you need to ensure that it’s final. Going back on your words is not simple (even when not impossible), and you will lose face in the firm where you decide to stay.

  • Create a list
  • Ponder on your life-work balance
  • See how this fits your long-term goals
  • Consider if an offer from another post has an expiry date

It’s generally a good idea to make a list (listing all the pros and cons of leaving). Even if you have it all in your head, it will be much different once you see it in writing. This way, you’ll get a clearer picture.

Think about how it affects your long-term goals and your life-work balance. If the commute to the new job is one hour longer, how will this daily loss of an hour affect you?

Now, unless you’re leaving for a limited-time offer, you’ll have plenty of time to weigh your choices. Even then, you don’t have to decide right away. Sleep on your decision for a while, and talk to people you trust and whose opinions you value before making up your mind.

Just remember that, ultimately, the decision is yours. You’ll reap the benefits and suffer the consequences. Even if it’s a mistake, it needs to be a mistake that you’re making. You need to be the one taking responsibility. 

  1. Make a plan (schedule)

Once you’ve decided, you must return to your contract and study the termination clause. How much in advance should you notify your employer? This should be the starting point. You should also look at non-compete and confidentiality clauses. 

Another issue you need to assess is your financial readiness. Are you ready to leave? Many people live from paycheck to paycheck, and a pay date gap at a different company may cause a problem. You may also get paid less for your first month there. Also, there’s a scenario where you leave without securing the next job. In this scenario, this is the most important factor. 

Then, you need to trace your next few steps:

  • Preparing the resignation letter
  • Talking to your employer
  • Talking to your coworkers
  • Tying loose ends

These things need to be done in this particular order. You don’t want to talk to your employer without already having the letter ready, and you don’t want them to find out from someone else at the office. Tying loose ends before you make it official will seem a bit unfair on your part. It will indicate that you’re hiding things while knowing them too far in advance. 

  1. Prepare a resignation letter

The quickest way to do this is to look up resignation letter templates and adjust them to your situation. The form is important, and while you want to put a personal stamp on it, remember what this letter is for (hint: it’s not a literary piece).

While the template will already consist of all this, here’s a brief rundown on how you want to approach this. 

  • Start with a professional salutation
  • Tell them your intention first thing in the letter
  • Express your gratitude and reflect on your career there
  • You don’t have to give your reasons (but you can)
  • Promise that you’ll wrap up your work
  • Offer to help hire and onboard your replacement (if there’s time)
  • End on a promising note and sign off

The thing to remember is that this is generally a great way to communicate your resignation. More or less, you can stick to your blueprint during the interview with your employer. 

According to one survey, around 30% of the workforce changes jobs every 12 months. In other words, you’re not doing anything your employer is already not accustomed to. If you do this tactfully, you’ll leave a good impression, and you’ll be able to return at any point. 

  1. Talk to your supervisor and team members

The next thing you need to do is go and face your supervisor. If they’re this scary authoritarian figure, you might not look forward to it. At the same time, if they’re a great and understanding boss, it may be even harder to tell them that you’re leaving. Good bosses understand the role of motivation in employee retention, but there’s only so much they can do. 

Just remember one thing (that we’ve already stated in the previous section) – you’re doing nothing new or wrong.

Another important thing is that you don’t go in there unprepared. Same as with your resignation letter, have an outline:

  • Tell them straight away that you’re leaving
  • Express gratitude
  • Offer further help and wish them well

This doesn’t have to take too long; it’s just very important that they’re the first person you tell in the office.

Once this is done, make sure to tell your coworkers. If you want, you can exchange personal contacts (if you haven’t already) and promise them that you’ll stay in touch (even if you don’t intend to). The key is keeping things civil, polite, and respectful. If there’s any bad blood, it’s time to resolve it. Start this next chapter on the right foot. 

  1. Offer to help onboard your  replacement

Sometimes, if the employer is satisfied, they’ll offer you better. If this fails, they’ll ask you if you can take a more active role in preparing your replacement. Sometimes, this means sitting in interviews and reviewing resumes. At other times, they’ll just ask you to help onboard them.

While the onboarding process is supposed to be automatic, the truth is that you have a lot of practical knowledge that cannot be transferred in any other way than through mentorship. 

Just keep in mind that you won’t have too much time. At best, it will be a process of several weeks, and you need to cram as much helpful information as possible. 

Remember that you’re not just supposed to tell them how to do things. You’re also supposed to share what’s the simplest way to do things most effectively. This is why it’s you and not anyone else.

Since you have so little time, you want to train them through a hands-on approach. Just show them what you do and what it’s like to be in your skin. Nothing will prepare them better. 

  1. Remain professional and tie loose ends

In the previous section, we discussed helping your replacement get accustomed to your work. The best way to help them (even more than with onboarding) is to avoid leaving some of your unresolved mess. So, work extra hard these weeks to tie up any loose ends.

This sounds counterintuitive to many people, but this is what separates the industry’s top echelon from the rest. Remember that you don’t want to burn any bridges and that people observing your resignation period may determine your professional future (at one point). People migrate; your current employer may be your future recruitment or boss.

Even outside of this pragmatism, doing your job to the end is right. Your work ethic is the most important thing; it’ll carry you through any career. Leaving any job unfinished is a sign of bad manners and a piece of baggage that you don’t want to carry around. 

  1. Celebrate the next chapter of yoru life

Finally, when it’s all done, you must celebrate starting the next chapter of your life. The thing is that all of the above-listed steps are stressful. In other words, it was a lot of work, doubt, consideration, and stress. Now, it’s time to reward yourself for making it to the end.

First, you need to consider who you will invite to this event. You can call your coworkers, but you can also celebrate with your closest friends. Sometimes, you’re leaving due to a bad collective, and throwing a goodbye party wouldn’t make much sense. 

You don’t even have to throw a party. There’s nothing wrong with spending the weekend playing video games (that you’ve bought but never had the time to play due to work). The key is finding something that’s fulfilling, relaxing, and rewarding. A reward is a relative term; it only makes sense if you feel rewarded. 

A positive exit experience can ensure a great new start

Like with any other thing in life, there’s the right way to quit

You need to start by ensuring that your decision is final. Making any plans or steps before you’re 100% sure it’s the right thing to do makes no sense. Then, you should make a timetable. It starts with the date you submit your resignation letter and proceeds with the scheduled meeting with your boss.

Things will evolve differently from then on, but you must handle them like a pro

By Srdjan Gombar

The Employee Journey: How to Resign and Prioritize a Positive Exit Experience

Veteran content writer, published author, and amateur boxer. Srdjan is a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and is passionate about technology, pop culture, and self-improvement. His free time he spends reading, watching movies, and playing Super Mario Bros. with his son.

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