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  • Writer's pictureLindi Engelbrecht

When is the best time to resign and how to resign well with a professional lasting impression

Resigning from a job can be a daunting task, but it’s a decision that many professionals make at some point in their careers. Whether it’s due to a better opportunity, a desire for career growth, or a toxic work environment, there are a variety of reasons why someone may choose to leave their current job.

However, knowing when to resign and how to do it well is crucial for ensuring a professional lasting impression.

So, when is the best time to resign? Ideally, you should resign when you have another job lined up, or at least a solid plan in place for your next career move. It’s important to have financial stability and a clear sense of direction before taking such a significant step.

Once you’ve decided to resign, it’s important to do it well in order to leave a professional lasting impression. The first step is to schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your resignation. This meeting should be in-person if possible, as it shows respect for your employer and provides an opportunity for a face-to-face conversation. During the meeting, be clear and concise about your decision to resign, but also express gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you’ve had at the company. This is not the time to air grievances or complaints, but rather to leave on a positive note

When you hand in your resignation to your employer, there are several things you can expect from them. Here are some of the most common ones:

  1. Acknowledgement of your resignation: Your employer will likely acknowledge your resignation in writing, such as through an email or a letter. This will confirm the date you gave notice and may outline the steps you need to take before your final day of work.

  2. Discussion of your reasons for leaving: Your employer may ask you for your reasons for leaving the company. This is an opportunity for you to provide honest feedback about your experience, but it's important to remain professional and diplomatic in your communication.

  3. Information about your final paycheck: Your employer will inform you of when and how you will receive your final paycheck. This may include any accrued vacation time or other benefits that you are entitled to.

  4. Exit interview: Some employers may request an exit interview with you to discuss your reasons for leaving, your experience with the company, and any feedback you may have. This is an opportunity for you to provide constructive criticism and may help the company make improvements for future employees.

  5. Transition plan: Your employer may work with you to create a transition plan to ensure that your responsibilities are handed over smoothly to your colleagues or replacement. This may involve training or documenting processes and procedures.

Another important aspect of resigning well is providing ample notice. Generally, thirty days’ notice is standard, but depending on the company and the position, it may be appropriate to give more notice. This shows that you respect your employer and are willing to help with the transition as much as possible. During your notice period, it’s important to tie up loose ends and ensure that your work is completed or handed off to someone else.

In addition to providing notice, it’s also important to offer to help with the transition in other ways. This may include training a replacement, creating a transition plan, or helping to recruit someone for your position. Going above and beyond in this way shows that you truly care about the success of the company and are willing to do what it takes to ensure a smooth transition.

Finally, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude throughout the resignation process. This includes during your final days at the company, as well as in your interactions with colleagues and management after you’ve left. Remember that your professional reputation is important and can follow you throughout your career, so it’s crucial to leave on a positive note.

I believe it's important mention, especially in our experience as talent advisors, the negative nett effect on your personal brand when accepting a counter offer from an employer

Here are some possible negative effects to be aware of:
  1. Trustworthiness: Accepting a counter offer after resigning can make you appear untrustworthy to both your current employer and potential future employers. They may question your loyalty and commitment to a company, and wonder if you might leave again at the first opportunity.

  2. Reputation: Accepting a counter offer can damage your reputation as a professional, as it suggests that you were willing to leave your job without exploring other options or considering the implications of your decision. Future employers may view you as someone who is easily swayed by monetary incentives, rather than someone who is committed to their career goals.

  3. Relationship with current employer: By accepting a counter offer, you may also damage your relationship with your current employer. They may view you as disloyal or uncommitted, and this could affect your future prospects with the company, including promotions, raises, and other opportunities.

  4. Missed opportunities: By accepting a counter offer, you may also miss out on new opportunities that could have come your way if you had left your current employer. Other companies may view you as less desirable because you were willing to stay with your current employer even after considering leaving.

Real-life examples of resigning well can be seen in many industries. One example is from a Informations systems auditor who worked for a Multinational Manufacturing company for several years before deciding to pursue a different opportunity. She scheduled a meeting with her boss to discuss her resignation and expressed gratitude for the experiences she had gained while working for the company. She also offered to help with the transition by training her replacement and creating a transition plan. Additionally, she maintained a positive attitude throughout her final days at the company and stayed in touch with former colleagues after leaving.

It's important to remember that every employer is different. It's always best to communicate openly and respectfully with your employer throughout the resignation process to ensure a smooth transition for both parties. Resigning from a job can be a challenging decision, but knowing when to resign and how to do it well is crucial for leaving a professional lasting impression.

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