The minute you officially decide to quit your job, follow proper protocol to make sure you exit in an honorable fashion. Doing otherwise can burn bridges you may need to cross again. Three keys to resigning honorably are communication, courtesy and respect.
Resist the urge to tell co-workers you are quitting before telling your employer. When the boss is the last person to know, she may take it as a sign of disrespect. However, it is still honorable to tell your co-workers that you will no longer be a part of the team.
Read through your employment agreement to determine how much advance notice the employer is requesting regarding your intentions to quit. Just because the employment agreement may ask for a 30 day or two week notice doesn't mean you can't notify your employer before that time. The honorable thing to do is tell the employer as soon as you officially decide to quit, even if it's several months in advance. This allows plenty of time for the employer to find a replacement for you.
Submit a formal written resignation notice to the employer, even if you have already notified her verbally. In your resignation notice, mention your reason for quitting. State the last date you expect to work. Because the employer didn't have to hire you in the first place, it's honorable to thank her for taking a chance on you and for giving you the opportunity to work for her company. If you enjoyed working for the company, say so. If you didn't enjoy working for the company, keep that information to yourself.
Recommend a replacement for yourself, if you know of another co-worker or someone else who has the skills and qualifications to do the job. Offer to help train the replacement. If you have worked in the position for a while, you may know a few tips and tricks to help the replacement do the job more efficiently.
Continue being a top producer until the minute you walk out the door. It can be tempting to start slacking off as you count down the remaining days. The employer will notice if your productivity goes down. By doing the honorable thing, you can use her for a professional reference in the future.
Don't leave a project unfinished, unless there is absolutely no way to complete it before your last day. If you must leave a project unfinished, communicate to your employer or your replacement any important details about the project.
Complete the exit interview, if your employer has one. The exit interview allows the employer to gain valuable insight that helps develop better retention strategies. The interview is a way to formally and honorably end the employment relationship.
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