People usually don’t spend time preparing in advance for resigning from their jobs. In fact, some of us never have to deal with this subject. If that is the case for you, congratulations!
Usually, resignations are a time of happiness for the new opportunity. Also, you might feel a bit of sadness for leaving what you have built. Sometimes, there is a relief if you are leaving a volatile or bad situation.
No matter the reason, it is important to remember that how you leave speaks volumes about you. Whatever you have endured, acting poorly after resigning only reflects on you, not the situation or who was in the wrong.
Inside the building products industry, you likely have built a name for yourself. Remember negative word spreads a lot faster than positive.
Within your channel or niche, there is probably a small pool of people. Think about how it will feel later if you end up having to sell to a person you told off. Or if one of your former companies purchases your current or future employer. Negativity sticks for a long time – 2 minutes of self-satisfaction probably isn’t worth the rest of your career.
Behaving Badly Doesn't Pay
Imagine you work with someone who resigns and during their last few days takes home hundreds of dollars in office supplies, runs their company vehicle into a light pole and punches out the boss. Does that sound like someone likely to get rehired or given a good recommendation? Is that someone you would want to work with or for?
Obviously, that is an extreme example, but it serves a purpose. Think about what you want to be remembered for. Even if you hate your manager or the company, think about what you want more – satisfaction or your reputation.
Here are some tips for leaving your job without burning bridges on your way out the door.
Be Careful What You Say And How You Say It
If you are upset or have bad feelings, it can be easy to get worked up. Practice what you would like to say several times in advance. Make sure you can resign in a calm, cool and controlled manner. It's fun to daydream about chewing out someone, but that feeling is going to be short-lived. You’ll come across as a child and no one listens to someone throwing a fit.
It's fine to offer constructive criticism during your exit interview, but don't air dirty laundry when you resign.
By remaining calm, you'll be taken seriously and won’t leave a bad impression.
Depending on your position or company policy, you may find your last day happening immediately when you resign. Prepare by bringing a notebook into the meeting.
Take notes about what is said so you can reference them later. You can document important information (healthcare, last paycheck, COBRA, etc.) and have a chance to focus on something other than what is being said. You'll keep your hands and mind busy and have something to refer back to later. Take an objective look at the feedback when you are removed from the intensity of the situation.
Watch Your Attitude
Anytime I have left a job I was ready to run away, but I didn’t need to let anyone else know that. No matter how badly you feel you've been treated, keep your negativity in check. Don't escalate or engage with anyone behaving badly. Walk out with your head held high and know you didn’t compromise your beliefs. Keep your answers succinct and if you can't be civil then be brief and bite your tongue.
Batten Down The Hatches
When you leave a bad employment situation, it's tempting to resign and then run through the office screaming you are free. Again, it's fun in the short term, but it won’t do anything but show you are petty.
Don’t talk about your exit interview with co-workers. Many won't keep your confidence and soon everyone will know exactly what you said. Most people aren’t going to stick their neck out to protect you or back you up. Don’t put friends in a bad place, just go home and take a few days to clear your head.
Maintain Your Work Ethic
If you are working for awhile after you resign, make sure you actually work. Don’t slack off, don’t leave customers hanging or start showing up 30 minutes late or disappearing after lunch. Go out with the same enthusiasm as you came in. Don't sabotage your replacements' success before they even start, you won’t be making a good impression.
If you have built a great customer base, you may end up interacting with them again. Don’t let your pride and need to get even put a black mark on your name.
Walk Away And Stay Away
Maybe you have great friends at your job and you want to continue your friendship. It is fine, but you need to focus on your new role first. And, your former co-workers and company need to recover from and adapt to your loss. Take a break for a while before you resume socializing. Let the dust settle for a bit. You'll be less likely to bad-mouth anything when you have time to grow to love your new gig.
No matter your situation, take the high road when you resign. Show your character and hold your head high.