Resigning from a job really stinks. I remember when I left my last employer to start CXO. Being a key player in the company, I was very anxious and clueless of how to approach such a delicate situation. Would my employer take my resignation personally? Would there be legal repercussions regarding confidential information, non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-soliticitation clauses? Or, would he pat me on the back and wish me the best of luck?
Prior to resigning, I took a good friend and mentor to lunch to ask his opinion on the matter. As the president of a much larger agency, he'd seen quite a few good and bad examples of people leaving his firm. He made several extremely wise recommendations:
- Schedule a formal onsite meeting for the end of the business day. No one wants to sit through a fancy lunch or offsite coffee when you're dealing with bad news.
- Script out a formal resignation speech/statement that lasts no longer than 30 seconds. Focus on gratitude and emphasize the positives of the time spent working together.
- Shut your mouth - from that point, answer any questions he/she might have regarding the transition out of the company. Keep the details and excitement regarding the new position/company to a minimum.
- Mutually set the expectation that you'll both sleep on the situation and reconvene in the near future to discuss offboarding and how to best align for a seamless transition.
Once all the transition details have been agreed-upon, consider laying low for a while. Your former employer doesn't necessarily want to hear about your awesome new job, plus time and distance can go a long way in healing broken relationships. By being graceful in your resignation, you can keep from burning a bridge and hopefully have a future reference and recommendation that can do wonders for your career.