Ending Your Employment – How to Say “So Long” Like a Professional

There is one cardinal rule to follow when you resign from your employer…

Don’t burn any bridges on your way out.

When you are ready to submit your resignation, you should request a meeting to do it formally. When you meet, have a carefully thought out letter of resignation with you thanking the person in charge or your report-to manager.  The letter should also mention the company itself and thank them for giving you the opportunity at that particular time in your life and/or career. You also want to wish the organization success in the future. We understand these niceties can be difficult to do when you are carrying a grudge or feel you have been working under difficult conditions, but the potential long-term affect will outweigh any current negative feelings.

Ask for the meeting in the morning so that you will not be walking around with this news weighing on you the entire workday. It will also afford the manager the opportunity to have the day to make arrangements or speak to others to cover for you until a replacement has been hired.

Always offer your present employer a period of time for notice of your departure. Your new employer should be willing to have you do the professional thing so that you are starting with them on a positive note. The proper and standard notice time should not be more than two weeks and often, one week is better and should be considered. Staying at a place that you are leaving doesn’t always create the best work environment for you or the company, even if your departure is on good terms – you are still leaving and that signifies something better awaits and can make for some awkward workdays.   Also don’t be surprised or disturbed if you are asked to leave sooner than you expected. Some companies do this as policy and some do it because they are uncomfortable and are concerned it will spark other employees to do the same.

Most firms will conduct an exit interview. Be sure to tell the person who is doing this interview, that you intend to say only positive things about your experience at the company and that you hope the same will be done when your name is mentioned. This doesn’t mean you can’t mention where improvement might be beneficial, but there is a difference between being snarky and making your point in a professional manner.

As a company owner and employer of hundreds of people through my years in business and management, I can recall many employees who left voluntarily and then reapplied years later. – Those that ended their employment the first time in a professional manner (regardless of any differences) were hired back. In today’s workforce, “boomerang employment” is trending – it’s defined as returning and being rehired by a former employer. These individuals can have very successful careers the second time out with the same company. Often their initial time of employment may have taken place at the wrong time for them or the company and now things are different. A study by Workplace Trends shows that 15% of employees boomerang back to a former employer and 76% of HR professionals say they are more likely to consider a boomerang rehire than in the past. In fact, 53% of managers give high priority to boomerang candidates who left in good standing.

Many times the second time around is better for the employee and the company because there is already an understanding of the company culture and shorter training time or ramp up. However, the opportunity for a second time around will only be available if you leave your present employer in an honest and professional way so that a positive image comes to mind when your name comes up.

As an owner and recruiter for many years, I will tell you that sacrificing your future is not worth the few minutes of satisfaction for saying the words you’ve been holding back.. You will have an initial period of release but, somehow, somewhere or sometime it can come back to bite you and it’s just not worth it to your career. Instead, you might phrase your words with something like this, “I wish our experience together had been different and perhaps more positive for both of us, but I’m glad I had this opportunity because I learned from it.” Then stop! Or, you can state that you believed your role or your responsibilities would be different than what they were in reality… you can mention that the work environment or conditions were not a good fit…or that you are restless to grow and learn new things. It’s okay to say that you have found something better suited to you geographically or with a significant financial increase. All of these things indicate some dissatisfaction, but you are saying it in a professional way. You will be making your point without pinning a target on your back.

Continue to give your job your best effort until the minute you leave. Don’t slack off, bad mouth anyone and don’t encourage others to leave. Keep emotions in check and when you make your exit, do it with grace. Remember, every exit is an entry somewhere else.

Good luck!

Merrill Banks, CSP, CEO founded LLoyd Staffing in 1971. Under his direction, LLoyd has grown into the largest privately owned staffing firm on Long Island (NY) and a well respected name in the industry.   READ MORE

 

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