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Resignation Do's and Don'ts
(How to Resign Your Job with Class)

Resignation Don'ts

Don't Jump the Gun. Never submit your resignation letter until after you have a solid job offer in writing. Stories of employees who've resigned based only on verbal job offers that later fell through, are not uncommon. How embarrassing and career-damaging might it be, to be forced to "cancel" your resignation?

Don't Display a Short-Timer's Attitude. Before handing in your resignation letter, make sure your work area and projects are in order and try to clear up unfinished business. Leave things in the same condition that you'd like to see them, if you were your boss or replacement.

If you have to stay through your resignation notice period, conduct business as usual and give a little extra effort to wrap things up. It's not a good time to exhaust your unused vacation or sick leave days.

Don't Consort with the Boat Rockers. Some of your discontented coworkers might prod you to criticize the company, bosses or other coworkers; but, it's likely not a good idea. You never know who you can truly trust in the backstabbing corporate world, who your next boss might be or who is eavesdropping just around the corner in the cubicle maze.

Don't Bite the Bait. Your management or HR department might ask you for "constructive criticism" during your exit interview; but, they might be trying to find out the "real" reason why you've submitted your resignation. (Why did they wait until you quit to ask for your opinion?) Never criticize the company or its employees, no matter how much you want to say "Take this job and shove it!"

If they ask why you're resigning, make simple, noncommittal statements such as "It's a career move." Avoid statements that can be misinterpreted, such as "It's a more challenging career opportunity." To those ready to pounce, this seemingly-innocent statement implies that you weren't happy with the job you've resigned. It might come back on you later, during background and reference checks.

Don't Accept a Counteroffer. Natch, this is your decision. But, despite how flattering it might be, most career advisors agree that it's not a good idea to accept a counteroffer. Once you've made it perfectly clear that you want to jump ship, your loyalty will likely be in question.

Subsequently, your employer might be making a counteroffer only to take advantage of you until they find a "more dedicated" or cheaper replacement. (Why did they wait until you resigned, to offer what you're really worth to them?) Try not to encourage a counteroffer by making statements such as "I'm resigning because I need more money."

Of course, decline a counteroffer tactfully to avoid bad feelings that might burn your bridges. But, again, avoid expressing too much regret, as that might help them pressure you to stay.

Don't Feel Guilty. Employees quit all the time. No matter how guilty they try to make you feel, you can bet that the company will survive just fine without you. If you feel a guilt trip coming on, think about how the company would likely have axed you in a heartbeat without an ounce of guilt, if it was to its advantage. That happens all the time, too.

Don't Take Anything the Company Owns. This goes without saying, at least to those of us who aren't criminally insane. It's just a reminder so you don't innocently overlook even simple things, like pens, calculators, manuals, CD ROMS, and other company belongings that you might carry in your briefcase to do your job. Remember, a security guard, an HR rep or your boss might search what you're carrying just before escorting you out the door.

When compiling a portfolio of your work, make sure that you're not taking proprietary information either. That's a biggie, whether or not you innocently took it. Just because you created it, doesn't mean that you own it. A company termination and discharge policy or an agreement (such as a separation, non-disclosure or non-compete agreement) that you signed might say who owns what, typically to the company's advantage. So, it's a good idea to be extra careful about what you take.

Resignation Do's and Don'ts
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