Resigning with Dignity

No matter the reason for leaving your job, there is nothing to be gained from burning bridges – it is much more productive and pleasant to resign with respect and dignity. More than the fear of receiving a negative reference, keeping professional relationships positive is not only much more pleasant but it also keeps your network healthy.


Carefully consider your options first and make sure you are absolutely sure resigning is the right thing for you – more often than not there is no coming back from handing in your notice so you should be sure it is the right thing. It’s not advised to hand in your notice as a negotiating tactic to increase your salary or package, as this can backfire!


It is always worth making sure that you have thought about all the options at your current firm – have you pursued all avenues for advancement? Is it primarily salary driven or are there other factors? Have you discussed concerns with your line manager and is there anything else which can be done?


If you are sure that leaving is the right move to make then it’s good to think ahead and plan how is best to do this. Find out what is the company procedure (if there is one) and who you need to speak to. Although you will need to resign in the written format, it is courteous do speak to who you need to in a face to face meeting. Plan this ahead, as sometimes it can be difficult and feel quite personal, dependent on your relationship with your boss.


– Work out what you’re going to say and then stick to it. You may be probed for more information so think about what you would like to say and the reasons you would like to give.
– Emphasise the positives: you never know when you will cross paths with your former employers and be constructive if asked to give any criticism.
– Your decision may come as a surprise, and your boss may get upset or even confrontational so remain professional and retain your composure.
– Always be as co-operative as possible. Stress that you will undertake the handover of any uncompleted work to the best of your ability.


A resignation letter should include your name, date, the person it is addressed, notice of termination of employment, when this is effective from and finally, your signature. You can easily find templates for these online. If you’re leaving in good circumstances then you can emphasise the positive – perhaps thank the boss for the opportunities he / she gave you. If however, you’re leaving in strained or bad circumstances, resist the temptation to let off steam and remain professional. A written letter of resignation is not the time to tell your boss your thoughts. You can request an exit interview in order to discuss these matters if you feel an issue needs to be addressed.


If you receive any counter offers, consider then carefully. Is this what you really want? Has anything changed? Why did you take the decision to resign in the first place and have these factors been addressed? Do not jump in and commit to anything until you have properly thought it through. How does the acceptance of a counter-offer affect your integrity with your would-be-employers? You never know when you may cross paths with them again.


Finally it is essential to leave on the right note with any previous employer – people remember both the first and last impression you make on them.
– Give them ample notice and work as hard in that notice period as you would at any other time – you are still being paid by them and employed by them at this time.
– complete any outstanding tasks and participate in the smooth handover of any unfinished work.
– Ensure that the boss and relevant team members know where you are at with any outstanding projects.
– Try and remain in touch with colleagues because again, you never know when they’ll be useful to your personal and career development in the future.

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I have a huge amount of confidence in the team at Attic – they have taken a lot of time and trouble to understand the culture and nuances of our business and it shows. I will keep asking them to support us because I know they will deliver a great result – quickly and with style.

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