How not to write a resignation letter

Resigning from a job is a difficult decision with many implications to consider; the main ones being whether you can afford to leave and if you have another position lined up. If you want a career change, for instance you may be working in customer service and decide to become an iPhone developer, the process is just the same as it would be in any other job.

It may be easier to look for other IT jobs if that’s what you have come from because your skills will be immediately transferable, but there are a few ways to resign. You can resign orally, in which case you need to work out what you are going to say before you say it and stick to it. Your boss may try to get more information than you are willing to give; in this situation don’t be obstructive but make it clear that you are submitting an oral resignation. It is also important to talk of the positives within your job and what you enjoyed – you may be leaving, but you don’t know that in the future you will cross paths with your current employer and you don’t want to burn any bridges.

It is possible your boss will become emotional or even angry, if that happens then it’s important not to also become angry. Simply stick to what you have prepared to say. Be as cooperative as possible and leave the meeting on a good note, stressing that you will deal with the handover of any uncompleted work as best you can. First impressions are important, but so are last ones.

You can also resign in writing, which gives you more time to prepare what you want to say and also removes the possibility of you having to think on your feet because your boss won’t be in front of you when he learns of your desire to leave. Remember not to be personal in your letter; just because you are leaving does not mean you can list the bad things at work or what you don’t like about your boss. Just state that you are leaving and be as nice as possible in what you have to say. This is especially important in writing because anything you say will be kept in your personal file, and the last thing you want is a negative comment coming back to bite you in the future.

If, however, you have issued your resignation and later change your mind, it is possible to withdraw it. Employers don’t have to accept a withdrawal, but there is an option for a reasonable period of time to pass, within which an employee can state their desire to revoke their resignation and continue working. What constitutes a reasonable period of time is not set in stone, but is usually considered to be a day or two.

It is worth remembering though that even if you want to withdraw a resignation, an employer can say no. This emphasises the need to be absolutely certain you want to leave and it isn’t a spur of the moment decision, and also the need to be polite and positive in your resignation, so that if you do decide to withdraw it the employer has no reason to reject it out of spite. If, on the other hand, your resignation is scathing and a rant against the boss and the company, the chances are slim that your withdrawal will be accepted.

What it comes down to is making sure you are totally certain you want to leave, which includes knowing you can handle the mortgage and provide for the family if you don’t have another job lined up before leaving, and that you handle the resignation in a professional manner.