The COVID-19 pandemic radically changed our lives, especially how we work. During the virus, many companies sent people home to work remotely and employees far and wide were generally thrilled at the change. Now that vaccines are making their rounds, companies are asking their employees to come back to work in person. Unfortunately, this shift back to normalcy is causing what many are calling the “Great Resignation.”
Whether it is the desire to continue to work remotely, the feeling that there is a better chance of finding a dream job now that our nation is opening again, or many other miscellaneous reasons, employees are quitting their jobs by the millions. If you are thinking of joining the crowd and resigning from your position, you mustn’t simply walk out; instead, announce your intentions politely and respectfully. Let’s talk about how to do just that.
Before you give your notice, you will want to get your affairs in order. If you are going to a new job, follow up with the future company and finalize any details to ensure that you truly have a place to go when you leave your current position. Confirm your new start date and get answers to any questions you have so there is no uncertainty as you make your transition from employer to employer.
Once you leave your current employer, you will probably not have access to any of your computer programs or hardware. With that in mind, before you leave, you’ll want to save any information that belongs to you and is not company property. That may include pictures and contact information of coworkers with whom you wish to stay in touch. You can email those items to yourself or upload them to Google Drive. Once you give your official notice of resignation, go through your desk drawers and bring home any personal effects.
You will also want to have a full understanding of your benefits and how they may change once you have officially resigned. For instance, your health insurance coverage may end once you leave your job and if you are not going immediately to a new position, then you may want to look into a service like Cobra for your needs in the interim. You’ll also want to read up on your 401k and check how you can continue to contribute to that account. If you are not going directly to a new position or your new company doesn’t offer the service, you may be able to look at an alternate solution like rolling your 401k over into a personal Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
When it comes time to officially announce your resignation, you will want to do so with professionalism and tact. Even though you will resign while face-to-face with your immediate manager, it is still important to draft an official resignation letter that explains your reason for departure and a hard and fast last day. You want to be honest in your letter but don’t be rude or accusatory. Just explain the situation and thank them for their time.
When it comes to your departure date, it is wise to give at least two week’s notice. This is the kind thing to do because it gives your company time to look for a replacement or make other arrangements to cover their loss. While the two-week notice is standard, you may want to read your employment paperwork to ensure that a longer notice isn’t required. For instance, some unions may require a different timeline and you will need to honor that.
Whenever possible, you want to have an in-person conversation with your manager as sending an email or leaving a voicemail may seem unprofessional. The point of the respectful resignation is to leave a good impression. Even if you don’t plan to work for this organization again, you don’t want to leave a bad taste in their mouth in case they are called as a reference.
Since many companies are still working remotely, your only chance to have an in-person meeting may be via a video conference. If you go this route, make sure to dress professionally and have a clean and orderly background with few distractions. The areas should be well lit, and it’s a good idea to check your equipment beforehand to ensure that your camera and microphone are working properly.
While giving your notice is a great first start for a professional exit, other tactics will leave management with a positive memory of your time with them. A big statement that you can make during your last two weeks is offering to train your replacement. Since the company holds you in high regard, they will likely be thrilled that you will impart your knowledge to the new person, and you will forever be remembered as someone who cares instead of someone who just messed around the last two weeks of their employment.
Once you do leave the organization, resist the urge to badmouth the company on social media. Remember that you never know how your former bosses could be connected to your new company. A better idea is to send a “thank you” note to your manager after you have left the company that again shows your appreciation for your time there along with expressing your desire to keep in touch.
There is nothing wrong with reconnecting with management and your coworkers once you leave your job. By saying hello every once in a while, you will stay fresh in their minds, and if a new position opens up that perfectly meets your needs, then they may reach out. In this world, having connections is key.
It is not fun or exciting to quit your job, but sometimes, it may be for the best. Follow the tips and advice discussed above and your professional exit will make the process easier and will ensure that you leave on a good note.
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