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The How-To of Resignation

If you are about to accept a new position, you probably made your decision with logic and reason. If you are currently employed, you may be on the brink of the emotional roller coaster.

Resigning from your company can be accomplished in one minute (as you will see in the script below). Most people take 45-90 minutes, and the conversation beyond the first minute is usually not pleasant for the departing executive. Follow my advice, and keep it short, simple, and close out any possibility of a counter-offer – if you are interested in a counter offer, you shouldn’t be resigning your job! (See my previous article called The Dead Meat Theory)

Here is a potential script for your resignation. You should put this into words you are comfortable with, and rehearse it the day before in your mind, so that it comes out naturally for you. The important thing is to be definitive – don’t leave any room or provide any invitation to negotiate, counter, or argue with your decision.

I want to let you know that I will be making a change. I’ve had a very enjoyable and successful time here, and I’ve decided to accept another opportunity. It is important to me to leave you in good shape, and transition my work over in an organized way, so I’m giving you two week’s notice. My last day here will be: __________. It is also important to me to depart on very good terms with you, so I want you to understand that I’ve thought this through very thoroughly, came to the decision with great care, and I’m very comfortable it is the right thing for me. I’m not seeking a counter offer, as I don’t believe that is ever wise, and I hope you’ll accept this and wish me well so we can part on the best of terms.

Allow your boss to express their thoughts – you are under NO obligation to give details about your new company, except to say it is not a competitor. If you are so inclined, you can reveal just the basics – it is a VP position, with great potential in a company you expect will grow substantially, and where you can have a big impact. Don’t disclose your new compensation package. If your boss indicates that they intend to counter or want to come up with something, say:

With all sincerity and respect, I appreciate what you want to do, but I’d ask that you respect my decision, and to make sure we have no hard feelings and part on good terms, let us not go there.

Reiterate if needed. Stand up. Don’t go to lunch with your boss. Prepare your transition out. Stick to your plan.