Once you have that new job, quitting your current job can have a lasting effect on your career. Do it correctly and you leave a lasting positive legacy. Do it incorrectly and you could leave a landmine behind. Step over the impulse to lash out and you’ll thank yourself later. Some thoughts:
Your resignation letter should be short. Simply state your termination date giving the organization appropriate time to plan a replacement. The higher your position, the more time you should give the company. Sometimes an organization will want you to leave earlier, however you are still due your full salary, benefits and vacation time accrued until that date.
If you still feel compelled to outline your concerns, communicate it in the same way a consultant would: Define overall issues, potential solutions with alternatives, but no names. But always write it with a tone of helping, not criticizing. Don’t look for revenge or “payback”. It should never be personal. If you were a key player in a high performance work unit, there should be a hole big enough for others to notice your absence without your comments. So why make a big fuss? If you want, create a memo for your file only, citing the issues that caused you to resign, with events, names and dates.
To really send a positive message, talk through your “exit strategy” in a positive way with bosses and co-workers, asking them, “What can I do to assist your efforts to help with the transition?” And lastly, chose your words carefully with others in the company. Your words will be replayed over and over again.
Give yourself enough time between your decision to resign and your actual resignation date. Be extra careful to make sure you overlap or integrate your benefits between the current and new organization. You don’t want an exposure that will make you and your family vulnerable if something unexpected happens.
From the company’s perspective, an exit interview can be a valuable tool to identify potential issues that need to be resolved, but be careful. If you do an exit interview, however, do it in a neutral way. If your organization demands an exit interview, ask for the questions in writing, think it through and respond in writing later, dated and signed by you. If you have a major concern as to what goes in your personnel file, ask for a copy at the time of separation. You may have to pay for the use of the copier and the cost of the clerk doing the coping, but better safe than sorry.
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