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Resigning with class

Martin Kelly
Dec 8
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By the time your references have been taken, you’ve reviewed your contract in meticulous detail and you even managed to locate a scanner to get it back to your new employer, it can seem that all the hard work in changing jobs is done. Hang on. You still need to tell your boss that you are moving on.

As tempting as it may be to flip the table, it’s good to go in with a plan. Any satisfaction that you get from going out in a blaze of glory may fizzle when you find it difficult to secure work the next time around.


While it may feel like your sudden attention to dental hygiene makes it seem obvious that you have been interviewing elsewhere, it will almost always be a shock to your boss. Make sure that you pick a good time to tell them, ideally towards the start or end of the day.

Have your reasons for moving on clear in your own mind before having the chat and make sure that you keep it positive and as unemotional as possible. It’s not the time to bring up their poor choice of Spotify playlists or even their smelly, microwavable lunches so avoid anything that’s personal. If there’s an exit interview, that’s usually a better forum for going into details as they will likely ask you for more specific feedback on things that could have been better. Finish the meeting by offering to do a thorough handover of your work to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.


Always confirm your verbal resignation in writing. A resignation letter can seem a bit old school but it’s important as you are breaking a contract. Make sure it’s concise and contains your full name, address, date and when your last day with the company will be. Address it to your boss personally and include a reason for leaving such as a new career opportunity, relocation, etc. If you are leaving after a long period of time or if you have a particularly good experience, it’s ok to including some positive personal thoughts such as thanking them for being a good mentor or wishing them well in their career.


A counter offer is when you tell your boss that you are moving on and they offer you a promotion or more money to stay. My all time favourite advice is on the Job Advisor blog. The stats will vary from site to site but the message here is clear; a very high percentage of people who accept a counter offer, will still leave within a year.

Stay strong, move on.

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