They say that the two happiest days in the life of a consultant are the day that s/he receives the job offer, and the day that s/he resigns. In this article, we will be focusing on the latter. The recent and ongoing trend in the workforce dubbed "the Great Resignation" makes this subject especially relevant.
Although it may be challenging at times, making a gracious, professional and diplomatic exit is key. You will be leaving soon enough, and starting a war on your way out won't help anyone, especially yourself (you are already sending a strong message to your future former employer in your decision to leave, anyway). So maintain your aplomb and remind yourself (as many times as you may need to) how little time is left until your last working day.
Here are our tips for a smooth resignation process, including how to write up the resignation letter and the goodbye email.
Before submitting your resignation, it is advisable and good practice to give your direct boss(es) a heads-up: it shows respect (now's the time to be the better person), and avoids catching them off guard when your resignation letter lands in their inbox.
Resignations warrant no excuses, no apologies, and no explanations.
You are neither required to disclose the name of your next employer (if applicable), nor the (real) reason for leaving. It is nobody's business but your own, and if you wish to keep this information to yourself, that's exactly what you should do.
The Resignation Letter
A standard resignation letter is made up of 3 sections:
Notification & Last Day: Please accept this letter as formal notification of my intention to resign from my position as [job title] with [company name]. In accordance with my notice period, my desired final day will be [date of the last working day].
Thanks: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to have worked in the position for the past [time in employment].
Transition (optional): During the next [notice period in weeks] I will do what I can to make the transition as smooth as possible, and will support in whatever way I can to hand over my duties to colleagues or to my replacement. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist in this process.
Here is our template resignation letter inspired by recruitment agency Michael Page (source), for your reference and use:
Feel free to add to this, e.g. describing your experience with the company as valuable, meaningful and/or rewarding, or requesting to leave before the end of your contractual notice.
To complete, add the following details in the upper left corner of the Word document:
Your name and address
Your boss(es)' name(s), title(s), company name and address
Resignation notification date.
Sign and send to your boss(es) and HR rep as a pdf.
The Exit Interview
Our experience with exit interviews at Big 4s? One time it consisted in a 9-minute phone conversation with an HR rep who was taking the call from his car (the GPS could be heard in the background) and who didn't ask a single question or request feedback on either the company, the team, the boss(es), or the professional experience in general: he just listed the tasks that needed to be completed before the last working day, i.e. details that had already been provided via email weeks before. Another time, the exit interview wasn't even arranged: after voluntarily chasing down an HR rep, the feedback provided promptly fell into oblivion.
In any case, even if the exit process were handled in a professional way, we have four words for you:
And then open a blog, to let the whole world know how you've been wronged...
The Goodbye Email
Over the years, we have read some pretty lame a*s goodbye emails: some, too personal; others, so fake; a few, simply glacial.
Here are our tips for writing a proper goodbye email:
Keep it short - few people are actually going to read it, anyway.
Be professional - remember that you are still at work. If you want to thank your work friends and share personal anecdotes, invite them out for a drink at the end of your last working day. All the other people at the firm couldn't care less.
Thank those who deserve it - take the opportunity to acknowledge those who actually supported you during your time at the firm.
Share your personal contacts (optional) - you may want to add your mobile phone and/or email address, unless you really don't want anybody to reach you. In the end, the people who you would like to be contacted by will probably already have your contact details.
And if you really can't find anything nice to say in your goodbye email, just don't send one.
We hope you found this article useful. For questions or clarifications, feel free to reach out. Thanks for reading, and good luck!