How To Tell Your Boss You’re Resigning

You’re ready to quit your job. Hopefully it’s a good feeling!

Now what?

First thing’s first. you need to check your contract and read the fine print. Most contracts should include details about how much notice you must give. If possible, follow the guidelines laid out in any written documents you’ve signed. You can always check in with HR if you have questions. If this is an emergency exit, be aware of any potential consequences from leaving early. Once you’re clear on the legal aspects of leaving, you need to start drafting your resignation letter and prepare for “the conversation”.

Resigning is never easy

Resigning is never easy, however, it doesn’t have to be an anxiety-inducing experience. ​​​​​​​​Most people experience it in one of two ways, nervousness/anxiety or anger and resentment, but it doesn’t have to be this way.​​​​​​​​ It is quite easy to get into a negative mindset during these times however, the powerful way to handle this is to take ownership.​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​Ownership of how you represent yourself in the final days, weeks or months of your employment. The last thing you want to do is burn your bridges.​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​Remember, you can only be responsible for how you handle yourself; the employer’s reaction is on them.
In my personal opinion, you don’t think sending a generic one-liner email or letter stating the date you will be leaving is a great idea. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Take the time to reflect on your experiences, lessons, the good and the bad times, projects you worked on, your achievements, and the growth and change that has occurred within you.​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​Pour your heart out a little, be genuine, appreciative and truly grateful for what the opportunity has provided you.​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​Remember, at one point in time you were over the moon about the prospect of working with the company. ​​​​​​​​ ​​​​Obviously, this won’t be the case for everyone and sometimes you have had a terrible experience and you simply need to get out of there. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Practice Telling Your Boss That You’re Leaving

Why? Because you’ll be nervous. Even if this has been a long time coming and you’ve role-played this conversation a hundred times in your head and you know it’s the right thing to do, you’ll still probably get an adrenaline rush as you walk towards your boss’ office. Your heart rate will go up, you might get a case of the sweaty or shaky hands. With your body feeling like this, there’s a good chance you’ll ramble, get apologetic, open yourself to being talked into staying, or leave feeling like you could have handled yourself better. This is why you practice.

How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Tell Your Boss You’re Leaving

Having a script of what to say and rehearsing it will help, but you may still feel nervous. Intentional breathing can help settle you, but a trick for dealing with nerves is to go to somewhere private, hold your breath and tense up every muscle that you can. Hold for as long as you can without passing out. Repeat several times and you’ll find that you’ve burned off a lot of those nerves and feel much more calm. Once you’re feeling more settled, it’s time to go and get it over with. If it helps, take a piece of paper with some bullet point notes so that if you get off-track, you can revert to your points and get through what you wanted to say.

The 4 Step Outline of What to Say

1) Explicitly state that you’re leaving

Plain and simple, say the actual part about quitting

“I’ve decided to move on from X company, and my last day will be October 29th.”

2) Give your reason

If you’re comfortable with doing so, explain why you are leaving

“I’ll be making a career transition into a new role that better uses my strengths and aligns with the kind of contribution I want to make.”

3) Offer to help

If you’re comfortable with doing so, you can offer to help find or train your replacement if you’re leaving on good terms

“I know this is an inconvenience for the company, but I’d be happy to help train a replacement or create documentation about the processes, if that’s helpful.”

4) End with gratitude

You should leave your workplace with your integrity intact and feel proud of how you handled your departure.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here, and how you’ve trusted me to take the reins on x projects. Thank you for being an important part of my professional growth.”

Hand over your resignation letter and take a big sigh of relief. You did it!