Breaking up is hard to do – resigning at work

goodbyeSo you have done it.  You landed that sweet new gig, way to go!  Uh-oh, now reality sets in.  You need to resign.  This is like when you are dating that person that you either do not like anymore or maybe you found someone you like more or even, dare I say it, LOVE.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to burn any bridges but you do need to prepare yourself for what is ahead. I think most bosses deserve the respect of being told in person (on the phone if remote) that you have been interviewing with another company and you have accepted a position with them.  I have also seen many people send a resignation email and call at the same time.  While not ideal, that is better than other options.


  • Email your bosses boss before letting your immediate supervisor know.
  • Leave without giving a two-week notice.
  • Just stop coming to work.  Yes, it happens.
  • Tell your co-workers before you tell your supervisor.
  • Tell your boss in a public forum.
  • Tell them before you are sure the other job is locked down, backgrounds passed, pee analyzed and papers signed.
  • Trash talk the company after you leave.

All of the above items you can control but once you let the cat out of the bag you never know what you are going to get.  Before your resign think about other people who have left and how were they treated?  Be sure you already have anything you want to take with you.  No, not the customer list, that could land you in hot water legally, but rather your notes from projects and other work you would like to reference in the future. Be ready for all possibilities:

You may immediately be escorted out with only your keys and handbag (that they will search like you work with missile command codes.)  Do not take this personally, it may be company policy.

They may ask you to keep this quiet while they work up a counter offer.  If they say this and your cannot imagine a number that would keep you be sure to tactfully let them know.  It is frustrating to jump through all the hoops to put together a counter-offer when there is no way an employee will stay.

“How do you want to handle this?”  Your boss may be sad to see you go but they may not counter-offer.  Again, don’t take it personally if they do not fight for you.  They may trust your judgement, wouldn’t that be nice.

Your boss may get angry and take it personally.  You might be the one thing standing between them and them being fired.

You may be thinking “hasta la vista baby” but you never know.  I met a person this year that found themselves out of work after another company acquired her employer.  She was the best on her team with stellar performance but years prior she had quit a job with the acquiring company with no notice, she just walked out.  Guess what?  They had that noted in her file and they did not want her in their ranks again.


If you can’t figure out where you stand with someone, it might be time to stop standing and start walking.

Calvin Dillard

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