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Time to move on?

So it’s time… You’ve decided it’s your time to move on which can be both daunting and liberating, I know.

This process, however subjective to your situation, if dealt with properly can make a huge impact to not only your exit but the businesses and ex-colleagues perception of you afterwards.

Below I’ve put together some simple steps for you to consider when resigning to make the process both less stressful and more pleasant for everyone involved.

1. Breathe

This might seem obvious but it’s arguably the most important step in this list. There may be a number of reasons you’re ready to leave and you’ve probably already considered this, especially if you have a new job offer but take some time to consider it again, is this the right decision for you?

Are you acting impulsively? You should take your time to think about pro’s and con’s of leaving and staying, make a mental note, write it down or however works and then sleep on it! Again, is this right for me?

This step will help you take a lot of the emotion out of the process later on down the line.

2. Contracts

This is important for you to know but also good information for any recruiters/ prospective employers to have too.
What is your notice period? Are you eligible for gardening leave?
Are there any industry-specific covenants in your contract that will restrict what you do moving forward?

3. Rhyme or reason

Make a list, check it.

Make sure you’ve written down a list of reasons for leaving that are both concise but professional in tone.
No doubt your employer will want to understand your motivations behind leaving and you’ll want to be honest but make sure the points you put across are not personal and relate to your reasons behind wanting to leave and not the business directly. You don’t want to burn bridges even the worst of scenarios.

Write your resignation letter, keep the above points out of the letter and reserved for a conversation. The letter should be short and to the point and professional in every aspect. Reserve discussion of reasons behind leaving for conversations with your employer directly.

4. Timing

It’s time, but is it the right time?

Ask your manager when they are free for a “chat” and stick with that as the premise. Timing is key here, you want to be fair to your boss and colleagues but you also want to move on. In an ideal world you would be able to deal with there and then, strike while the iron is hot but you should consider what’s going on with the business currently. Is your boss about to attend a client meeting? Is your boss just about to go on holiday? Is one of your colleagues off sick?

Ultimately, you’re ready to go and can’t wait forever but be fair and consider the above before handing in your notice and having this chat. As long you show empathy and willing throughout this process, you’re doing the right thing.

You should be having this conversation with your boss before your colleagues.

5. Counteroffers or Time to go

You may be hit with a counteroffer to continue in your current role. If this happens you should remember your reasons for wanting to leave in the first place and resist being blinded by money. Counteroffers are usually a bad idea and statistically candidates who accept counteroffers usually still leave within 12 months.

Once all of the formalities are out the way and you’ve decided on the best and most professional way to leave the business, you should be prepared to work your full notice period (you are contractually bound to this). During this time, you should be making sure that you are creating a good hand-over for your team and manager to be able to pick up your workload once you’ve left including everything you can think of.

Be prepared to share the news with colleagues, this could be both emotional and empowering. Be respectful and be sure to not brag. You want to leave on good terms with everyone as you never know who you’ll be working with in the future.

6. Congratulations

And finally, be thankful and leave with your head held high knowing you did a great job. This will ensure you get a brilliant reference and you can leave knowing you did all you could to ensure a smooth departure.


If you’ve read the above and still have cold feet, folded your resignation into a ball threw it across the room, are waiting for your boss to come back from maternity or you’re just considering the right way to go about it feel free to get in touch with me for chat about how myself and Zebra People can help.

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