Here’s a piece by a client of mine who learned some lessons just as he was submitting his two-week notice resignation letter!  Remember, with a new job you are moving toward something, not running away from something. That is the mindset to write your resignation letter. -Coach Wolfgang

resignation letterRecently, I turned in my two weeks notice at work via a resignation letter. It felt like an eternity to get my new offer letter but it finally came in. For weeks, I envisioned people’s reactions and dreamed of how my two week notice letter would shock them! I daydreamed about all the things I would be free to say and how I would show my managers their mistakes.

Well, the day came around and all those thoughts of scorning my company and managers left a bad feeling in my gut. Fortunately! I could have made some real mistakes and I feel compelled to warn others who were thinking of doing so.

Don’t be rude in your resignation letter

  • Don’t bash your boss either as a person, manager, strategist or friend.
  • Don’t tell them how their plans were all wrong and don’t tell them how all your mistakes are their fault.
  • Don’t be a jerk!
  • Don’t, don’t, don’t tell them that you are resigning because of some personal beef you have with them or a co-worker.

If you are not coming up with reasons to be courteous in your resignation letter then consider what you have to gain by being rude. Usually, not much. I do feel it is okay to give feedback that will help your boss and, potentially, your co-workers. For example, I said that I had stuck with the company through a lot of transition and went above and beyond many times but felt that the ~1% raise and diminishing annual bonus made me feel that my contributions were not seen as important. Give your boss something to fix and work on in your two week notice letter. This productive information can also be shared in an exit interview.

Don’t blow off your job duties

  • Don’t “decline” all of your meetings, or even most of them. Continue to attend the ones where your input will be meaningful or at the very least, helpful.
  • Don’t stop replying to emails or not being helpful in your replies.
  • Continue performing your recurring duties until you have a replacement and then you can spend time training your replacement. Remember, the two-week notice is meant for you to transition out of your orle, not stop working.
  • Don’t, don’t, don’t start making yourself unavailable to those who need your assistance.

Since you are still on the payroll, there’s an expectation that you will maintain your performance. Do your best to do so and your co-workers will remember you positively. You just don’t know who will be a part of you getting the next job – it may just be a referral or endorsement you aren’t aware of! I’m not saying you need to put in a bunch of overtime but ease down slowly and make others realize that you were (and are) a solid hire.

Don’t sabotage your projects

  • Don’t withhold important information on your projects.
  • Don’t make it difficult for your replacement to step in.
  • Don’t forget to inform your vendors and other co-workers involved in your projects.
  • Don’t, don’t, don’t leave your boss in a lurch after you leave.

Imagine 10 years from now. You are on the job hunt again and your are interviewing for an awesome position. Now imagine that your current boss is best friends with the hiring manager! Do you think you’ll get the job based on their recommendation? If not, now is a good time to correct that. Take the next two weeks to surprise your superiors and leave a lasting impression. For example, it’s smart to create an overview document along with the status and next steps for all of your projects to hand-off to your manager or replacement.

 Don’t be shady

  • Leave all the equipment and supplies at the company. Now is not the time to stock up on post-it notes and staplers.
  • If you are remote, don’t hang on to your laptop as a sign of discontent.
  • Take your training materials, the badges from your conferences and business cards you’ve collected but don’t take a bunch of strategy docs out of the office.
  • Don’t, don’t, don’t run up a bunch of personal charges on your company credit card!

You probably spent a lot of time at your job trying to impress co-workers, your boss, your executives, etc. If you want to make them realize that they lost a good employee, then uphold and solidify their impression. Be proactive and take their requests seriously. You are resigning from the job but your behavior will stay with your former co-workers long after you’ve left!

If you are leaving a job that was frustrating and potentially frustrating for a long time, it’s tempting to burn bridges, say hurtful things in your resignation letter and check out over the next two weeks. I know – I’ve been there! But stop and think about what benefit you’ll get, rather, what benefit your career will get. If you don’t see a benefit then it’s best to pass.

Have you burned bridges on your last day at work? Tell us the good and the bad below!


resignation letter, 4 Don’ts in Your Resignation Letter

Amy Wolfgang

Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.

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resignation letter, 4 Don’ts in Your Resignation Letter

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