Posted By: Eli Chavarria

At one time or another, we have all been unhappy in our current job or are ready for our new adventure. How you resign from you current position can either hurt or help where you go next in your career. Most human resource professionals note that quitting unprofessionally shows your failure to think through the process and the chain of events that transpire are hard to stop. Here is how to make a graceful exit without embarrassing yourself:

Know why you are leaving. Be honest with yourself and think about why you really want to resign. Are you seeking a higher salary, more challenges, a better boss, a promotion, or a change? Once you know the answer to that question, ask yourself: Is leaving the company your only option? If you have been planning your exit for some time and have a new job lined up (that you are excited about), don't resign until you have an offer letter signed and a background check completed, if required. Prepare a resignation letter for your supervisor.

Resign in person. When you break the news, do not let anyone else at the company before telling your direct supervisor. Do not wait until the very last minute. You should at least commit to giving a two week notice. Also, when you resign, do not resign over email. Always meet in person and keep the conversation as private as possible. With COVID-19 and working from home this might seem difficult, but you can always schedule a video or phone call with your supervisor. The worst thing an employee can do is leave a job completely and never be heard from again. This will put a huge black mark on your professional record- the world is smaller than you think.

Take the high road. If you had a decent experience with the company, have a positive discussion with your supervisor. If you had a miserable experience at a company, you should still take the high road. Tell your supervisor what you have enjoyed most about working at the company, what you've learned in your job, how it is going to prepare you for your next role, and why you are excited about the change. Do not forget to express your gratitude for everything your current company has done for you and your growth.

Have a backup plan. If you bring value to your company, your boss might not want to lose you. This calls for a back-up plan. How will you respond to a counteroffer for more money? A promotion? More vacation time? A new title? If you have accepted a new offer, do not accept a counteroffer from your employer. It might sound great at the moment, but think about why you originally planned to leave your company. If you accept a counteroffer, you might regret it later.

Do not slack off. There is work to do before you start your new role. You might have a lot to do and it might be the busiest few weeks you've ever had in your role. Make sure to leave your team in good hands by helping with the search for your new replacement. Write a detailed memo about your responsibilities and what needs to be done after you are gone. Let the next person walking into your job be as positioned for success as you hope to be in your new role.

At some point, your team will learn about your departure. Do your best to encourage a positive work environment. No matter how much you disliked working at your company, keep it professional and do not burn your bridges.

Avoid the long goodbyes. Do not be the person to blast out an email to their work colleagues thanking everyone and telling them you won't have email access after today. If you made close contacts at the company, give them your information privately. Remember to say goodbye and thank your supervisor before you walk out the door. It's a good gesture.

Keep in touch with your colleagues and advisors. You have spent hours and hours with them at work every day. Why throw that away? You never know, they might serve as a valuable reference or open doors to bigger and better opportunities down the road.

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