Whether you love or hate your job, one day soon, you will find yourself handing in that resignation letter, clearing your stuff from your desk, and saying goodbye to the colleagues who have been like family over the years. You may leave sad and nostalgic, relieved and happy, or just plain livid.
Even if it’s your last day on the job and you won’t be dealing with everybody anymore, it’s important that you leave on a positive note even if all you want to do is walk out in a dramatic and unforgettable huff. Never burn bridges because you’ll never know when you’ll be crossing them again in the future.
Inform Your Direct Superior First
The very first person who should know that you’re leaving your job should be your direct superior. Yes, this is true even if he or she is the reason you’re leaving in the first place. It’s just a matter of professional courtesy. Don’t head to HR directly or announce it to your work friends over lunch. Worse, don’t do it on your Twitter or Facebook.
Remain Professional Even if They Do Not
Make sure that you give ample notice. The recommended period is at least two weeks or more depending on your role and contract. Some may require more than 30 days to turn over your functions to the next person.
Once you’ve handed in your resignation, don’t just disappear the following day. Show up to work until your last day on the job. Skipping work just because you’re on your way out doesn’t look professional or respectful at all.
Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you can start slacking off. It doesn’t mean that you can also use up your remaining sick days even if you’re not sick. As long as you’re still on your company’s payroll, you’re expected to turn in the day’s work. Complete tasks like any other regular workday. This is the best time to show just what kind of employee your company is losing. Make sure that your company will feel regretful to let you go.
Tie Up Loose Ends
Inform your clients in an official and professional manner that you will be separating from your current company. Complete all of your pending projects. Forward relevant information to the next person for a smooth transition.
Make sure that you clear personal items from your workstation and on your office computer. Clear your inbox, but don’t delete anything important.
Be Respectful But Honest
Before your last day at work, HR usually conducts a brief exit interview. Even if you have unresolved issues with management or strong and negative feelings for your colleagues, don’t sound like a petulant child.
Be honest and factual but remain appreciative, productive, and positive. Don’t badmouth anybody. It’s a very small world. You can still end up working with them in the future. What you can do instead is focus on your experience as a whole without zeroing in on all the things that went sour along the way.