How do you resign without burning bridges?

Leaving your job seems pretty straightforward, you hand in your notice and you leave – right?

Sometimes it is that easy, but it can also be a long and somewhat stressful process to navigate that conversation with your manager. Even more so if you have to address issues within your current workplace, like management styles, colleague relationships, progression, or pay rises. It can be uncomfortable and daunting to lay those issues out in the open, so here are a few tips to help you leave your job and do it well:

  1. Tell your manager first. 

News can travel pretty fast in the office, your manager should be the first person you tell about your decision. Write a letter of resignation for HR purposes and deliver it to your boss in person. You should choose a suitable time to deliver this to your boss, so you have time to explain your reasons for leaving. Tell other people after this meeting if you want, but not before.

2. Honest but respectful
Your managers are going to want to understand the reason for your decision, not just out of professional curiosity but for their own records and improvement plans. Whatever your reasons may be, positive or negative, you should be honest and respectful – keep your professional reputation in mind, you may want a reference from this manager one day. 

3. Be prepared for a counter offer 

Job vacancies are at an all time high and the demand for technical talent is skyrocketing. If you possess an essential skill set, you should be prepared for your manager to make a counter offer. They may not want to lose you and, given the current market, renegotiations may be more cost effective for them than a new hire. If this does happen, remember you don’t have to make an immediate decision – take a day or two and mull it over. 

4. Don’t coast through your notice period 

Even though you’re leaving the company, your work output shouldn’t change. It’s your reputation at stake, pull your weight until your last day. Make sure you have returned all documents and company property, and clear up your email accounts.

5. Clean break

At some point or another, you’ll end up leaving a job for negative reasons. Whether it’s the wrong culture fit, lack of progression or unreasonable output expectations, it’s important to get a clean break. Nothing good comes from talking negatively about your colleagues or managers. Leaving on good terms leaves you open for networking opportunities and future recommendations.