How To Resign From Your Job And Leave On Good Terms

By Emma Edwards
15th Feb 2021

a young woman wearing orange tinted sunglasses, has a lollipop in her down. Behind her is blue sky and trees

Landing a sweet new gig is a great feeling, but all too often it’s shadowed by the sheer dread of resigning from your current role.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered with an easy-as guide to resigning like a total pro.

Before You Do Anything, Check Your Contract

Once you’ve made the decision to leave, the first thing on your to-do list is to check your contract. It’ll have information on how much notice you’re required to give, and any clauses that could impact future employment.

Telling Your Boss You’re Quitting

The initial tell is usually the part that fills us with the most dread. The unknown of how your resignation will be received and the total confusion around how to actually spit the words out are usually cause for a cocktail of a thumping heartbeat, wobbly tummy and a lump in your throat that just won’t budge.

The best way to get the conversation started is to book a time to speak to your boss or manager in private. Often, they’ll suspect what you’re about to say, which almost makes it easier to introduce the subject. Whether you book a meeting room, pop a catch up in their calendar, or ask them to go for a coffee and a chat, just make sure it’s in person. If that’s absolutely not possible, your next best bet is a phone call. Just avoid email, text, or worse, a Slack message!

When the time comes to do the deed, get straight to the point. Don’t fluff about with too many apologies or excessive justification of why you’re leaving—simply explain clearly that you’re leaving and a little bit of context that gives a positive spin on your decision. For example, “I’ve been offered another role that feels like the right next step for me.”

Worried you’ll burst into tears? It’s happened to the best of us. Practice your intro line with a friend or partner beforehand, and really nail down the delivery of the key information. Focusing on that will help distract your impulse to tear up.

Leaving On A Positive Note

Even if you’re leaving your job because you can’t stand another day of it, you hate your boss and would rather shovel manure than turn up each day, keep it positive and respectful. Your previous workplace can be instrumental in helping you get (or not get!) future opportunities, so do your best to leave on good terms.

Try to avoid the urge to declare everything that you hated about the job or all the reasons you’re leaving. Aim for a respectful parting of ways, for the benefit of your future employment! Burnt bridges might come back to haunt you later in your career.

Seeing Out Your Notice Period

Pushing through your notice period can be the trickiest part of resigning from your job, but the more cooperative you are, the better impression you’ll leave on your coworkers and employers. In some cases, last impressions can be worth as much as first impressions—and if you find yourself in need of a reference in future, this can play in your favour.

Work with your employer to arrive at a departure process that benefits everybody. Offering to go the extra mile in handing over to another team member or in sourcing your replacement can pay dividends in career brownie points, too.

Buzzed up to resign but haven’t yet secured that all-important new gig? Here are the most in demand jobs in Australia right now.

Image Credit: Azamat Zhanisov

Emma is a finance blogger at The Broke Generation and a reformed spendaholic. She shares hot tips on saving, property, tax, career and investing for millennials who want to break the spending cycle and get financially confident.

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