Personal Leadership

Top Ten Resignation Mistakes People Make

Resignation is often a taxing and daunting process, one that in most cases is very emotionally charged. Therefore it is not surprising that employees are prone to certain common mistakes at this time. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when resigning from a job.

1. Resigning for the Wrong Reasons

This is one of the common ways people make a hash of their careers. Resigning as an emotional response can only lead to regret. The decision to resign should not be made on a whim. No matter the circumstances or aggravation, be sure to think things through with a calm mind, before making this move. Carefully clear your mind and have a reality check. Evaluate all your reasons for resigning before you decide conclusively. Also, you should never resign in order to leverage or negotiate a counter offer. It’s unprofessional.

2. Venting Grievances

Transferring negative emotions either verbally or in written form is a big no-no. Your letter of resignation will be one of the final documents in your personnel file, and will be among the first documents looked at when a prospective future employer calls to confirm references or if you ever reapply. Therefore, it is vital to keep it professional and business-like.

3. Destroying Good Character & Reputation

Burning bridges is a terrible mistake that will likely come back to haunt you in the future. It will not only cause bad feelings between you and your employer, but also ruin the good reputation you’ve worked hard to build, affect your ability to maintain good links with your colleagues, and cost you a good reference when you need it. It may feel great to spit in their face at the time, but it’s not worth risking your goodwill and continued success in your career and personal development for.

4. Being Unprepared for a Counter Offer

Companies don’t like to lose good staff. In many cases, a valued employee is given a counter offer when a resignation is received. Being unprepared for this may make you vulnerable to the lure of more money. Bear in mind that once you resign, your loyalty to your employer is in question, and that a counter offer is often just a way to keep you longer until a replacement is found. Furthermore, retracting an offer already made to a new employer will affect your integrity negatively.

5. Ignorance of Company Exit Policy

Failure to acquaint yourself with company exit policy may leave you in an embarrassing or difficult position. You will do well to find out how previous resignations were handled. Some companies will ask you to leave immediately once you give your resignation. This could pose a problem if you were unable to pick up your personal belongings or documents from your work area or clean up your personal files from your computer.

6. Unawareness of Company Compensation Policy

Your resignation may mean automatic forfeiture of specific benefits. Imminent bonuses, severance pay, holiday entitlements, insurance benefits, retirement accounts, and company stock contributions may be lost. Ensure you fully understand all contracts you have signed.

7. Not Considering Legal Counsel

If you are leaving for reasons that might require legal counsel, such as issues involving discrimination, harassment, safety and fraud, failure to consult an attorney before you submit a resignation or sign any documents may land you in a mess.

8. Tendering a Poorly Written Resignation Letter

While a good resignation letter can be brief and to the point; an outstanding letter of resignation accomplishes much more in that it leaves your current employer with a positive feeling about you and establishes a basis for positive references in the future. Personal remarks about your life and feelings should be left out of your resignation letter.

Even if you are leaving on bad terms, the urge to write negative or derogatory comments about the company, the job or your colleagues should be resisted. Instead, express appreciation for the job you held and the experience/knowledge you’ve gained. You can also highlight your most important contributions to the company. Be positive, and ensure that you state the effective resignation date clearly.

9. Not Preparing for the Resignation Meeting

This is a very crucial point in the resignation process, and even the most careful employees have been known to mess up at this stage. Whatever the reaction- congratulatory handshakes, guilt trips or blatant confrontational anger- your plan is to remain composed, courteous and professional at all times. So, think ahead what you are going to say and stick to it – don’t get derailed. Keep details of your future plans to yourself at this point, and end your meeting on a good note.

10. Slacking During the Final Days

The temptation to relax is often strong at this point; resist it. The value of your performance during your last few weeks should not be underrated. Ensure that you’ve completed any outstanding tasks, and prepare your hand-over notes properly. Let your manager know that you are being as co-operative as possible, and continue to give it your very best effort right up until the last minute you’re there. Also, assume that anything you say will get back to your employer, so be sure to tell curious colleagues exactly what you told the company. Your professional reputation and your integrity are at stake, and conflicting versions flying around will make you look like a liar.

Now you know. Resign with style!


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