The Resignation Meeting
So how do you give notice?
• First of all, you shouldn’t give notice until you have an offer to accept.
• Second, it is very important to be prepared, with written letter of resignation, before calling a resignation meeting with your boss.
You will need to write a letter of resignation and give it to your boss to open the resignation meeting. It is best to use a very simple four sentence, two paragraph letter of reference that is direct and to the point. The letter reads like this:
Please accept this letter as my official notice of resignation. I appreciate the work we have been able to accomplish together at Company Name, but I have now made a commitment to another organization and will begin with them in two weeks.
Know that it is my intention to work diligently with you to wrap up as much as possible in the next two weeks to make my resignation as smooth as possible. If you have any suggestions on how we can best accomplish that goal, I hope you will share your thoughts with me, as I am eager to leave on the most positive note possible.
It is also no accident that “thank you” or “I’m sorry” does not appear in this letter. There is nothing to say thank you or I’m sorry for at this juncture in your career. Yet, inappropriately, that is how many resignation letters begin. Furthermore, candidates giving notice must understand it is unprofessional and improper for them to use the resignation letter to tell the current boss where they are going, what they are doing in their next job, and/or how much they are making.
When do you give notice?
• The best time to give notice is ALWAYS as soon as possible after the written offer is accepted.
• Important to give notice near the end of your day/shift, which means you won’t have to spend the rest of the day answering questions about why you are leaving and where you are going.
• After writing the resignation letter, you must be prepared to call a resignation meeting.
The sole purpose of the resignation meeting is to leave on as positive a note as possible through a carefully planned smooth transition.
What do you say at the meeting?
• Start with a verbal icebreaker to open the “Giving Notice” meeting. It is merely a simple paraphrasing of the resignation letter. We suggest that with the above letter in hand you open your resignation meeting conversation by saying:
“Boss, I have made a commitment to join another organization and I will begin working with them in two weeks. Please accept this, my letter of resignation. I would ask that you take a minute to read my letter before we discuss together how we can make my transition as smooth as possible.”
This opening we have provided gets right to the point without unnecessary small talk. It also makes it clear that you are not planning to talk about your decision to leave. Instead, it is clear that what you plan to discuss is the transition now that you have made a commitment to leave. It makes the transition the most important item to discuss in the conversation that is about to occur.
• Remember, the conversation need not be about where you are going and what you are doing next. Rather it should focus on your transition during the next two weeks. Also, every time your boss asks anything not related to ensuring a smooth transition, you should deflect the other questions simply by saying:
“I know you may be curious about that, but it is not my intention to discuss where I am going or why. My decision is made. I have made a commitment to another organization. If it is really important for you to know where I am going and why, let’s talk about it when it is not an emotional issue for us, say a month from now. Today, my goal remains to discuss how to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
Also if this happens, it is important to remember to ask yourself: Why it is that on the day you give notice, suddenly your opinions are so important to your boss?
Please send me a fax or email copy of your letter of resignation. Next, call me so I can coach you through some of the more difficult aspects of this resignation meeting.