Diplomacy is defined as "tact and skill in dealing with people." While it's always a good idea to be diplomatic in all your personal and business dealings, it's especially important when you are resigning from a job. The world is much smaller than we sometimes think, and with all the company mergers, consolidations and acquisitions, it's best not to burn bridges.
When you're leaving a job, it's not the time to finally give an irritating co-worker a piece of your mind. The co-worker or supervisor you've despised could wind up as your boss somewhere down the career road.
Here are a few tips to take into consideration before you announce your resignation.
1. Always use professionalism and courtesy in announcing your intention to leave the company.
2. Advise your direct supervisor first. Then tell colleagues and department staff.
3. Don't boast to co-workers about your new position, salary, office or company car. Instead, thank them for their support and friendships and exchange contact information to stay in touch.
4. Write a professional letter of resignation. No need for lengthy explanations, you can simply state that you are resigning from your position to pursue other interests or opportunities. Whether you loved or hated your job or your supervisor, the outcome should be the same: a brief, respectful letter stating your intention to leave.
5. Give your employer advance notice so that they can begin to make arrangements for your replacement. Generally acceptable notice is two to four weeks. Work with your current and future employers to set a time frame that works for both them and you.
6. Offer suggestions for your replacement by putting your supervisor in touch with colleagues you know and respect. Share resumes of qualified candidates or recommend a valued co-worker for your position.
7. Finish the job. Don't leave projects half completed. Provide a list of projects and review what can or needs to be completed before you depart.
8. Don't leave your desk or office in disarray. Take a day to organize your materials for your successor.
9. Offer to train your replacement. This may require that you come back for a few hours or a day once you leave the company. If you leave before a replacement is hired, make yourself available to answer questions in person or over the phone.
10. Don't disappear. Avoid short-timer's attitude and stay an active and contributing member of your team during your last days at work. Work hard and do your best to leave a good and lasting impression.
11. Avoid naysayers and don't badmouth the company. Once others know you are leaving, they may seek you out to share their feelings of discontent. If you want to leave on good terms, don't be associated with disgruntled or unhappy employees.
12. Use your exit interview time wisely. Regardless of what you are told, this is not the time to trash your boss or your boss's boss. If you haven't discussed your concerns about work situations in the past, don't use the exit interview as an opportunity to reveal them for the first time.
13. Negotiate your exit package wisely, but don't be greedy or overly demanding. Politely ask for what you deserve, such as payout of unused vacation time, pro-rated bonuses, etc.
14. Leave the company assets behind. Don't walk off with supplies to outfit your new office. Unless you brought something from home or paid for that stapler with your own money, leave it on your desk.
15. Don't send boastful or sobbing farewell e-mails. If you choose to use e-mail to notify colleagues that you are leaving, provide your contact information -- these people are part of your network.