It’s rarely an easy decision to resign from a current job, particularly if you are in good standing with your employer and co-workers. Even when professional relationships are not as strong as they should be, resigning graciously will serve you better in the long term. There are plenty of conflicting perspectives on how to quit a job with the least amount of backlash. This article reviews a number of steps to make sure you resign with dignity and your professional relationships intact.

Give notice in person

If at all possible, notify your boss of your intention to resign in person, or at the very least over the phone. The personal touch is needed here to show your employer the respect that you have for your time as an employee. Bad news rarely translates well over email or text message. Written notice alone is also cold and impersonal, though your employer will likely ask for something in writing for their records. It is a personal and professional courtesy to speak directly with your boss and tell them that you are resigning.

Give plenty of notice

The standard minimum notice period for employees looking to resign is two weeks. If you can give additional time, that may earn you points with co-workers and supervisors who may feel the impact of an increased workload due to your absence. The last thing you want to do to your employer is leave them in a bind, especially if you plan to use them as a reference in future job searches.

Avoid getting emotional

While it can be difficult to avoid all emotion when it comes to resigning, you should certainly avoid any outbursts of frustration that may have influenced your decision to leave. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Avoid the temptation to tell supervisors or co-workers how you feel they may not be living up to your expectation. The most important thing at this point is to leave your position with your head held high and your career unscathed. Don’t feel that you are obligated to explain your reason for leaving. If that reason is likely to lesson your likelihood of getting a positive reference, then it is not worth airing out old grievances.

Stay in touch

Your professional reputation is built entirely on the opinions and feedback of your former supervisors and co-workers. References are worth their weight in gold. To avoid losing touch with arms of your professional network, make the effort to reach out to old colleagues and bosses to keep them in the loop regarding your career changes. Once you inform your boss that you intend to resign, it’s a good idea to speak with colleagues and clients about your leave as well, providing them with the opportunity to ask questions and prepare for your departure. Remember to keep things positive though, and encourage them all to stay in touch.

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