It’s a fact of modern life that the vast majority no longer work for one company all our lives. That means that we’ve got know how to cut those ties. People have tried a lot of different ways to cut those ties. Some go for a formulaic letter. Others are a little more colourful about it like a girl who thought she could pull one over on her boss by quitting on YouTube, but where her boss got the last laugh.
But which is the best way to go? Here we’ll discuss some of the most important ideas to consider when you want to quit and write a good resignation letter.
Don’t do it angry
The first thing to remember is to not send the letter angry. It’s fine to write it when you’re at the height of that emotional rollercoaster. But do recognize that for what it is and wait till you’ve at least slept on it.
Why? Because once you’ve said something you can’t always take it back. And that can mean you end up burning bridges that you really shouldn’t – not just with former employers but with colleagues and clients as well.
And who knows what opportunities will come along later where your network might be useful? Life can take some pretty weird turns, brining us all the way around to the doorstep of people we thought we’d never see again.
In those situations, it’s almost always better if the person you’re coming to doesn’t still have the bad taste of a vicious resignation letter still in their mouths.
It’s too late to list your grievances
If you’ve reached the stage where you’re writing your resignation letter, it really is too late for you to go through what you don’t like about the job. After all, as you’re heading out of the door you aren’t really giving you boss the opportunity to act on these problems. And so, all you’re doing is increasing the chances you’ll leave the place on bad terms.
What, exactly, is the point of that? Yeah, sure, it might make you feel good. But does that weigh up against the costs of never being able to freelance for that client, bring them on board for as a client for the next company you work for, or get that starry-eyed recommendation for the next job you’re starting at?
Much better to strike a positive note in which you thank the people you’ve worked with for everything they’ve done. Praising your colleagues and highlighting what you did like will make your departure far more amicable. And that will make it more likely that in the future you’ll still be able to use the connections you spent all that time building up.
Have somebody else look at what you’ve written
When we read a text we’ve written, we don’t just read what it says but also all the meaning we intended. That means that to us it’s obvious where we’re trying to be sarcastic, wry or dead serious.
The problem is, other readers don’t have that extra information. They just read what you’ve written. And that can lead to all sorts of miscommunication.
To avoid this curse of knowledge, make sure that if you’re going to move away from anything that is not the standard routine, you check with other people how they interpret what you’ve written. And when you do, don’t first tell them what you intended with the letter! After all, they too will then struggle to separate what you actually wrote from what you intended to write.
Your best bet is to get people who don’t really know you that well involved. This can be a lawyer, an acquaintance or a professional proof reader like they have at The Word Point. The great thing about using somebody like that is that they don’t know you and will therefore be more likely to see what your text actually says instead of what you’d like it to say.
Make sure you’ve re-read your contract before you send off your letter
You’d be surprised at the sub-clauses that catch people out when they decide to move on from a company. There can be non-disclosure clauses to watch out for, non-compete clauses that prohibit you working for the competition for a number of years (with competition sometimes being interpreted very broadly) and so on.
That can throw a real spanner in the works. So, before you go, take another look at your contract as well as whatever other guidelines the company has. Note that guidelines sometimes change, so even if you knew what was going on when you started, new regulations might have cropped up.
If you’re not sure about whether a guideline applies to you, don’t be afraid to consult a lawyer and get their opinion, perhaps even in writing. Then you can avoid pitfalls and be ready for any curveballs that may come your way. And that will make the transition much smoother.