How to Resign From Your Job With Dignity

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Maintain calm and dignity during the resignation process.
Maintain calm and dignity during the resignation process. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Boredom or dissatisfaction with your job, personal problems or issues with your coworkers or boss are some of the reasons employees quit their jobs. The law does not require you to give your employer notice of your termination, but the manner in which you resign can impact how your current and prospective employers regard you. Maintaining your dignity when you resign makes the situation less uncomfortable for you and your employer.

Check the terms of your employment contract, if applicable. For example, your contract might require you to give notice before you resign. Depending on company policy and state law, you also might not be eligible to receive accrued paid vacation time if you quit without notice. Contact your state labor department for employee benefits and termination requirements.

Give your employer at least two weeks’ notice, even in the absence of an employment contract. Depending on the nature of your work, you can give more notice. This gives your employer time to start looking for your replacement and allows you to finish tasks you started. If possible, offer to train the new person during your notice period. If applicable, resign after you finish a critical project rather than in the middle of it.

Prepare a tactful resignation letter. Include your last day of employment and your reason for leaving, such as medical or personal reasons, and express your gratitude for the opportunity to work with your supervisor and your team members. If your reason for leaving is a bad experience with the company, simply state that your reasons are personal and professional, that you enjoyed your association with the company, have learned much from it and will apply your knowledge in your future position. Finish your letter by extending your best wishes to the company and everyone you worked with. If appropriate, include an interest to keep in touch.

Prepare your resignation speech in advance. Then call a meeting with your supervisor, inform her of your resignation and give her the letter. Maintain a positive attitude. For example, say that you decided to move on instead of that you hated your job. Your boss might probe you for details; keep it short and stick to your story. Be gracious and express your thanks for the opportunity to work with the company.

Avoid revealing negative experiences and thoughts to your coworkers. What you say and do resonate in the workplace long after you leave. Your employer is also less likely to recommend you favorably to prospective employers if you attempt to embarrass him. If you are dissatisfied with your job or found a better paying one, simply tell your coworkers that you found a new opportunity that you are looking forward to.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check with your state labor department for final paycheck laws. Your employer is supposed to pay you all wages due within the required time frame.
  • Exit interviews are not mandatory, unless you signed a legally binding document agreeing to one.

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