Resigned to Resigning: The Proper Way to Leave Your Job

As has been mentioned many times, the world is a new and different place. Unlike our parents’ or grandparents’ jobs, it’s almost unheard of for someone to spend their entire career with one employer.

Contemporary workers will frequently change companies within as little as three years. However, in a startling departure from what was considered “normal” 20 or 30 years ago, people are changing careers on an average of every 5 to 7 years.

Resigning from your job - professional man in front of office building

For instance, advertising executives/account managers are learning to become Internet savvy programmers. In this way, they can address the new paradigm where people pay less attention to traditional billboards in favor of huge digital displays with constantly evolving images and content.

This is likely due to the newly developed epoch where people are steering away from plain television and using devices to record favorite programs, while skipping the advertisements. They are paying to listen to ad-free digital radio, and programming custom content precisely to their needs. The younger generations will still interact with ads, but they are now insisting that they be targeted to them specifically, at a place and time of their choosing.

This is but a single example, yet it is happening, in one form or another, in all sectors. If you have the foresight to predict the possible obsolescence of your job, marketability, or even your field in general, then seek additional training now (while you’re still employed) to acquire new skills and remain valuable.

Why quit?

Sometimes, however, the notion of moving on from your current employment situation is not intimately tied to career goals as much as it is a matter of circumstantial frustration. While you might find a profound sense of satisfaction from an immediate, albeit blustery, display of your discontent with a less than ideal work environment, it is invariably a bad idea to exhibit such a reaction.

Employees often quit because changes at the company have made their job unsatisfying, or perhaps a new attractive opportunity has presented itself. Others quit due to life changes and personal reasons, such as relocation.


First, decide if you really want to quit. If you have something lined up and you’re ready to go, is the job better than what you’ve got already? Are the benefits equivalent, the commute shorter, or the pay better? Or, are you just having a really bad week and you’re afraid that it’s never going to get better?

Remember that unless you quit for a justifiable causeyou will probably not be eligible for unemployment insurance. If you don’t have something lined up, it could take between three and six months to find a position. Do you have enough money put away to last that long?

So, how do you do it?

Remove your personal effects from your desk and computer; anything that the company does not need. Sometimes, especially in Sales, if you make known your intent to leave, management may recommend you leave immediately; and retrieving your personal property may be even more difficult. Therefore, be sure to have your workspace in a condition where you can easily pick up and go, if necessary.

Hopefully, this is not the case.

Be Professional

Craft your resignation letter carefully. Be polite, professional, and don’t blame anyone at the organization for the reasons you are leaving. You do want to date the letter for the day you will deliver it (and a copy to HR so that it is on file). You need to specify that last day of work (check your employee handbook for the requirement; it is usually two weeks).

This article at offers useful templates for resignation letters of all kinds.


Once you’ve decided to leave, management may try to convince you to stay by offering you better compensation or other considerations. The problem that occurs, time and again, is that people who are persuaded to stay generally leave within a couple of weeks to a couple of months anyway.

By expressing an intention to leave, many managers end up questioning your loyalty and dedication to the job. In a distrustful atmosphere it is simply not worth it. Stick to your guns and leave on schedule.

Exit gracefully

If you leave a job with professionalism, style, and a well-crafted resignation letter, that is what the next person will see when they look at your file. If you have occasion to work with (or for) the company again, your professional reputation is already established.

Your work history follows you for your entire career. Even if you change careers, you may come across the same individuals from time to time. In fact, our social networking society at least guarantees you will encounter your previous employer or coworkers on LinkedIn at some point in time. Furthermore, your future employer may also be in your previous employer’s professional network.

Our shrinking world dictates the extreme likelihood that you will – in one capacity or another — meet a former coworker or supervisor in the future. Therefore, leaving a job on good, if not excellent, terms helps ensure that your next encounter with them will be relaxed and amicable.

Loose Ends

To the best of your ability, complete any ongoing projects before you leave. Leave copious notes for incomplete projects (envision a miniature User’s Manual) so the next person knows what’s going on. Make sure any outstanding commissions are paid up, and that your vacation and personal days are accounted for.

Stay Connected

Assure that all your contact information with your fellow employees is up-to-date before you leave. They’re part of your network; they can help you make connections; and, most importantly, they can provide recommendations.

Resigning from your job - professional woman at desk_relieved


Don’t burn bridges, even if you considered the job a dreadful experience.  You can be the “bigger” person here — you can leave with dignity and aplomb – showing you are the ultimate professional.

Whatever the circumstances, make sure all your daily tasks are properly assigned to someone who can take responsibility for them. Don’t let them find out that six of their top customers have not been contacted for over a month because nobody mentioned it.

Be detailed in your pursuit of perfection. Your fellow workers may not notice a perfectly executed job, but they will certainly take note of a poor effort. Be great until the very last day.

Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.