How to Quit Your Job Professionally

Episode 9

Episode Overview

In Hire Calling Episode 8, Host Pete Newsome offers tips that anyone planning to resign from their job can use to ensure they leave on great terms. 

14 minutes

View transcript

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.


You’re listening to the Hire Calling Podcast – your source for all things hiring, staffing, and recruiting. If you are an employee who’s considering resigning from a job, listen to this episode first. You’ll be glad you did. Let’s go!

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for listening to Episode 9 of the Hire Calling Podcast. I’m Pete Newsome, and on today’s episode, we’re going to explore a topic that comes up in nearly every person’s career, often more than once, and it’s an area that is unfortunately, not often handled well by the employee. And that, of course, is resigning from a job.

Everyone is familiar with the adage, “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. Well, the same holds true when you’re resigning from a job – you only get one chance to resign. And with a little foresight, a little consideration, it can be handled really, really well, and will often be the difference between a bridge that’s burned forever, or a door that remains open, relationships that last, and perhaps most importantly, a former employer who will say very good and positive things about the person who resigned.

Being in the staffing industry, this is something that we see over and over, as employees don’t look ahead and make the decision to resign without notice, or resign on bad terms. It happens because they’re so eager to move on to the next opportunity, they really just aren’t handling it with the same planning and thought that goes into getting the job in the first place. And I’m sure anyone who’s listening can appreciate that while there’s a lot written about how to find a job: how to do your resume, how to interview properly, who to dress. These are issues that we’ve already talked about on the Hire Calling Podcast, and we’ll certainly continue to focus on because you’ve got to land the job on the front end in order to have a chance to resign. But how you depart is equally as important is how you come in, and we’re going to offer some tips today that I think will be able to benefit a very broad audience, and hopefully along the way, save some folks from making bad decisions that they could have otherwise avoided.

Make a Plan!

I want to start with planning, and we recently published a blog about this on the 4 Corner site. Planning how you resign is something that requires some consideration, and in doing so you should consider your employer; how important you are to their organization, the role that you play, the team that you may be on it, what are the responsibilities that you had, and try to put yourself in their shoes. It’s okay, and even understood that there’s an eagerness to move on once you’ve made that decision to leave, but understand this was an organization who had decided to bring you in, they hired you, they retained you, they give you a paycheck, they may think very highly of you. Your departure could be a big burden to them, and in many cases, it’s an unexpected departure, so plan in how you’re going to present your resignation.

Do not do it out of emotion, and don’t do it on the fly. Just take a little bit of time to consider all your options, who you should be speaking with about it, and then proceed. In almost every case, you’ll want to do this in person. It’s hard to do. Not many people find it easy to share bad news, and technology has not really been our friend in this area because it makes it very simple for folks to send a quick email and never be heard from again. You’ve got to fight that urge. What is convenient is often not what is best to do, so try to have an in-person meeting with your manager to show as much respect and appreciation for the opportunity as you possibly can. If you can’t do that, do it on the phone, and then only as a last-ditch consideration should you do that in writing or via email. So plan ahead, think about what you’re going to say, and be gracious.

If you harbor some ill will, you may have an opportunity to share that in an exit interview. Companies appreciate that.  At 4 Corner Resources, it is something that we take seriously; we want to understand why someone is leaving. Maybe there were issues that we were unfamiliar with at the executive level, maybe there was something that we could have done differently for the employee that we were otherwise aren’t aware of, and in many cases, it’s just time for someone to move on. And all of that is okay. But any management team or any organization with employees really values that feedback when it’s done in a sincere way. So if you have an axe to grind, you want to keep that in check. But be honest and open with your feedback, because most organizations will greatly appreciate that.

So that’s tip one. Make a plan, and then act accordingly.

Always Give Proper Notice!

The second thing you want to do is, and this is probably the biggest sticking point / biggest error that we see consistently made, is give as much notice as you possibly can. Two weeks minimum. Now, that is probably going to sound old fashioned to some folks out there, but don’t be fooled by that. There’s a lot of bad advice that we see given, being in the staffing space. It’s pretty common, for us to hear advice that is given from parents and friends, neighbors, family members, all with good intentions, undoubtedly, but poor advice for the employee to apply. There are certain things that are just tried and true and giving proper notice to your employer is one of those things.

It may not always be accepted, depending on the situation. If someone’s going to a competitor, if someone is leaving on less-than-great terms, it may make sense to depart immediately. But give your employer that option. It is worth sucking it up for a little bit of time to get the long-term benefit of leaving on good terms. It really is as simple as that. If you can give more than two weeks, by all means that’s preferred. Because what you’re really doing is giving your former employer, or your soon-to-be former employer the opportunity to plan and have your departure not be as much of a burden as it would otherwise be. And I’ll say again, you may be fighting or having to pretend to care about what happens after you leave, but understand that this was not something that they that they wanted; it’s something that you as the employee want. In so many of these tips that we end up giving the job seekers and employees, it really come down to just simply treating others as you would want to be treated yourself. Even in times where you find it difficult to do that, or you’re really not motivated. Don’t act in the moment, don’t act on emotion with that. Do the right thing. Give the two weeks’ notice, mean it , and then be willing to stick those two weeks out if they if they accept your offer. Now you can also look at history of other employees who have left,  if maybe the company has a specific policy in place on how they handle resignation, but you want to be prepared to stick it out and represent yourself really well during that time.

Assist with the transition!

So that really leads into tip number three, which is to assist in the handoff of your duties to help the person who’s going to be replacing you if that person exists. Help your soon to be former manager in sharing all of your work, and letting them be completely up to speed with anything that they would need to know to make your departure as seamless as possible for the first day you’re gone and then beyond that. It is it is an easy thing to do. If courtesy and professionalism aren’t on your mind, it’s equally easy to quickly feel like those things are someone else’s problems, and they soon will be. But you’re not doing this to help the company as much as you’re doing it to help yourself. And if that’s a way of looking at it that that makes these decisions easier than by all means that’s acceptable. We’ll take it, but just know that that little bit of effort in consideration is going to make all the difference in the world, once you’re gone, look at it this way, are they going to say nice things about you that that next week, or are they going to be angry?  Or increasingly angry as they realize that they’re not prepared to operate as well as they otherwise could have been? Well, that’s going to be on you, and that lasting impression you leave, it doesn’t go away, that that is going to stick with you. And so always think of the future in a situation like this and be as gracious and helpful as possible in the transition.

Keep working hard until the end!

And on that point, tip four, don’t get lazy, but continue to make the same level of effort they were paying you for all along. It’s an easy thing to do, to think, wow, I’m just going to coast, and to some degree, every employer expects that from an employee who’s resigned. But all of these things we’re talking about today really come down to fighting any bad emotion; one that’s really not logical. And so you also don’t want to be thought of as going out on a bad note in that regard, either because you just didn’t put forth any effort. So try to maintain the same, or I’ll even go so far as to say, a greater level of effort than you were giving while you were there. Because the opportunity really exists not just to be thought of in a neutral way, but to be thought of fondly and be someone who’s going to be missed because you did such a great job, even on your way out the door. And there’s absolutely no downside to taking that approach, and lots of upside. So don’t get lazy, keep your foot on the gas, even up to your last day at your job.

Offer a referral 

The final I’d like to give is to recommend a replacement, if you can. Your soon to be former employer may have zero interest in that, and that’s okay, but it’s an easy thing to do if you have someone in mind, because it just is yet another indication that you did your best for them. And that’s what is going to leave that impression – good or bad. It’s just an easy step to try to be helpful to try to be accommodating and to try to leave them in the best possible scenario, assuming that you’re going to be missed, from your job when you’re when you’re gone.

So those are the five tips for today about resigning from a job. I’ll go through them again very quickly.

Tip number one is to come up with a plan. Think in advance how are you going to handle it, be thoughtful, and don’t be emotional. And just take a little bit of time to come up with how you’re going to give that notice.

Number two: Make sure you give notice and mean it, and are willing to stick it out two weeks minimum.  I can’t say that enough. Two weeks minimum – period.

And then number three: assist in the handoff of your duties. Treat others as you would want to be treated.

Don’t get lazy is tip number four.

Then number five: When and where you can, recommend a replacement.

That’s it for today. Thank you for listening to this episode, please rate review and subscribe if you can.

And feel free to give feedback:

I have a lot of topics in mind for future episodes based on questions that I receive from various places, but would love to hear some in real time that may be relevant to the current job market, the economy, things that are happening with COVID. These are issues that, at 4 Corner Resources, we deal with pretty much every day, so if there is someone out there listening who could benefit from advice of the professionals who encounter these issues, by all means we’d love to hear about it.

Again, email

Thank you again for listening and have a great rest of your day.

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