You’ve got a million reasons to be unhappy with your current employer, and you know you want out. Your industry is rather tight knit, however, and you don’t want to do anything that will damage your professional reputation and torpedo your career.
How, then, do you resign the right way? If you’ve never had to do this before, it pays to take the following steps:
Review your contract and your company handbook
Most companies have specific policies when it comes to resignations, so find out what your company expects. Even if you’re not contractually bound to give them what they want, working a two-week notice (if expected) will help you leave gracefully and on good terms.
If you have a contract with your employer, pull it out and review it so that you understand exactly what your rights and obligations are if you want to resign. You may not have been paying much attention to those particular details when you signed on – but they’re very important now. A violation of your contract could not only damage your reputation but expose you to legal action.
Get ready to be shown the door
Regardless of what your contract says or your employer’s expectations, resignations can cause an employer to go into “protective mode.” It’s not unheard of for someone to be put on “gardening leave” during their notice period and escorted out of the building.
Keep in mind that this may not be personal. Employers often worry about industry sabotage or intellectual property theft when an employee leaves.
Before you make your announcement, clean your desk, make copies of anything you need for your resume or portfolio and have a polite resignation letter already written. It may save you a lot of hassles later.
Don’t overlook the human element
It’s best to give your manager or team leader the news in a face-to-face meeting (in private) before you turn in your notice to human resources or send an email. That can help ease any tensions and allow everyone to approach the situation with grace.
Above all, be tactful about your reasons for leaving. As much as you might like to blast your feelings on social media, you would hurt your own reputation as much as (or more than) you do the company’s.