Breaking Up is hard to do – How to tender your Resignation


“Breaking Up is hard to do” – or so says Neil Sedaka in his seminal 1960’s pop classic. And when it comes to tendering your notice this couldn’t be more apt. Having changed employers twice in the past 2 years I fully appreciate how difficult it can be to quit your job.

There are a whole host of reasons behind the emotional trauma of such a move including (but not limited to):

  • Fear of the unknown – will I be successful in my new role?
  • Maintaining social circles – will I keep in touch with the colleagues and friends I’ve made?
  • Reputational damage – am I letting my clients, managers and colleagues down by leaving?
  • Financial concerns – will the move work out from an income perspective (this is particularly relevant in sales / commission-based roles where you must build a desk or client portfolio)

You will need to overcome each of these before tendering your notice but once you do the only thing left is the physical act of actually resigning which involves speaking to your Manager. This is, for many, an extremely daunting prospect.

To get through this I recommend the following:

Write a Letter of Resignation

  • State that you wish to terminate your employment and specify an End Date
  • Avoid criticising anyone in the company
  • State that your immediate priorities are to finalise any ongoing projects and assist in the handover of your responsibilities to limit the disruption to your Manager, team and clients
  • Include your thanks for the opportunities afforded to you and best wishes for everyone at the company in the future

Inform Your Manager First

Even the most sensitive of secrets can be disclosed over chats by the water-cooler – or more likely during after-work drinks so keep the big news to yourself until you inform your Manager. If the news is leaked beforehand it won’t be well-received and shows a lack of respect / professionalism.

Stay Positive and Professional

Don’t let your standards drop now that you’ve decided to leave. Your reputation (and future references) depend on it.

Be Respectful to Your Colleagues

  • While you are understandably excited about your new job remember that your colleagues will not be joining you so don’t be too disparaging about the office you’re leaving or too boastful about your new role as this could lead to some resentment
  • And for God’s sake don’t do anything crazy at your Leaving Drinks like kissing Carol from Accounts or pouring a drink over your office nemesis!

Hopefully the above advice offers some help in what is always an awkward experience.

Feel free to mention your experiences in the Comments below and don’t hesitate to contact me for more advice or Resignation Letter templates.