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Resigning the Right Way

We’ve all indulged in those daydreams where you dramatically storm into your boss’s office shouting ‘I’m outta here!’. Or perhaps you’ve pictured yourself packing up your desk and ninja-rolling out of the office never to be heard from again. Well, it’s best to keep those fantasies for your mental movie reel and learn how to exit the stage like a true professional.

So, you’ve been doing some soul-searching, evaluating those career dreams of yours and you’ve decided the time has come to take the leap and move on to the next chapter. Yep, it’s a career crossroads moment that every working professional eventually faces – handing in your resignation.

Now, no matter if you’re venturing into a different industry, seeking a better work-life balance, or answering the siren call of wanderlust and travel, one thing’s for sure: leaving on a positive and professional note is the way to go. Future you may need a dazzling reference or a shiny recommendation, so you’ll want to exit with grace to maintain healthy relationships with your manager and coworkers.  

In the following sections, we will walk you through everything you should consider before you resign, the essential steps to prepare for your resignation discussion, how to write an A+ resignation letter, and what to expect after you resign. So get ready to embark on this journey of graceful transitions and empowered career choices!

Before You Resign

Recognizing the need for change

First things first, ensure you are resigning for the right reason, and that it aligns with your goals and aspirations (career-related or otherwise). Of course, nobody’s situation is the same, so the ‘right reason’ to quit will be different for everyone. If your desire to quit is driven by stress, anxiety or burnout caused by work, then consider having a conversation with your manager before making the final call. Honest conversations can go a long way. 

Reviewing your employment contract and company policies

Next, you need to dig out your contract and review company policies, contract terms and any notice period requirements. Providing two weeks’ notice is the standard practice when resigning from a job in Canada, but in some cases you may be required to give more. Your employment contract might also contain information regarding post-employment obligations, such as non-compete clauses or confidentiality agreements. Familiarizing yourself with these terms will give you a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities during and after your departure. 

Understanding your notice period

While most employers will want you to work your notice period for the sake of a seamless transition, there may be some instances in which they request you cease work immediately and leave right away. Sometimes it’s a part of the process, so don’t take it personally! To prepare for this, you should clean up your computer and other devices owned by the company in advance of handing in your resignation. 

If you have the flexibility to do so, you should also consider any ongoing projects and looming deadlines. If you’re the star player in a certain company project that’s teetering on the edge of completion, it might be worth considering timing your exit or maybe extending your stay to finish the job in style. You know, a superhero save before you ride off into the sunset.

Handing in Your Resignation

What to expect from your resignation conversation

It’s now time to prepare for the part of the resignation you have probably fantasized about at least once in your career, but it’s going to be way less dramatic than you imagined. You will want to request an in-person meeting with your manager – scheduled in advance if you have a resignation timeline in mind. If you are a remote worker, a virtual one-on-one meeting will do just fine. 

Prepare to discuss your reason for moving on. You don’t need to provide specific details (save those for the exit interview if you wish) but you can give a general reason. Keep your wording diplomatic and positive. Let’s say your reason for leaving is due to long work hours. In this case you could say something like ‘Balancing my professional and personal commitments has become a priority for me. While I value my role here, I believe that a change will provide the flexibility I’m seeking.’ 

There is the possibility that your manager will provide you a counteroffer to encourage you to stay with the company. This may be a nice surprise, but remember to weigh it up carefully and take some time to consider how it might align with your goals. 

To maintain the good vibes you have going on, you can offer to facilitate the transition. Offering this support will ease the burden of your departure on your team and will help leave a positive lasting impression. You may want to offer help in the following areas: 

  • Identifying a suitable candidate to take over your position 
  • Finishing outstanding projects
  • Outlining project details if staying to complete them is not an option
  • Training the new hire 

Drafting your resignation letter

A well-crafted resignation letter should be concise, positive and polished – a true reflection of your professionalism. Done correctly, this letter will help you maintain a cordial relationship with your company. The letter should include:

  • Date
  • Address line 
  • A statement of resignation 
  • Your last day of work 
  • A statement of gratitude 
  • Next steps 
  • Your signature

Here is an example resignation letter for your reference.


Dear [Manager’s Name],

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to formally resign from my position as [Your Job Title] at [Company Name], effective [Last Working Day, e.g., two weeks from today’s date].

I want to express my deepest gratitude for the experiences and opportunities I have had during my time at [Company Name]. Working here has been an incredible journey, and I am thankful for the support and guidance I’ve received from you and the entire team. The knowledge and skills I’ve gained will be invaluable as I move forward in my career.

I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition during my remaining time at the company. Please know that I am more than willing to assist in training my replacement or providing any necessary information to ensure the team’s continued success.

Thank you once again for everything. It has been an honor to be a part of the [Company Name] family.

Warm regards,

[Your Handwritten Signature]

[Your Typed Name]

Now you have your letter written up and printed off, it’s showtime – well, almost! Grab one of your close friends (not your work bestie!) and give that conversation with your manager a practice run. It might feel a little nerve-wracking and awkward but it’s all part and parcel of the grand professional journey, a rite of passage, if you will. 

After You’ve Handed in Your Resignation

Keep it professional

As you embark on the final stretch of your resignation journey, it’s essential to maintain the poise and professionalism that you’ve carried throughout your time with the company. The notice period is a crucial time, and your actions will leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re training the newbie, wrapping up projects or simply working your day-to-day, remember that your conduct speaks volumes about your character!

Tell your team

A graceful exit is about ensuring a seamless transition for everyone you have worked with in the company. When it comes to notifying your colleagues and clients, transparency is key. Share the news openly, ensuring that no one is left in the dark. Clear and considerate communication fosters a sense of trust and respect, and it paves the way for ongoing positive relationships even after you’ve moved on.

And there you have it, your guide to resigning with a splash of finesse, a generous helping of positivity, and a whole lot of grace. Something to remember – life is anything but one-size-fits-all. If your situation means you can’t work the standard notice period or if the road ahead feels unclear, that’s okay. This journey is yours, and it’s crucial to walk it in a way that feels right for you. What matters most is openness, professionalism, and the goodwill you carry with you. Onward and upward! 

Additional Resources

  • If you’re looking to take the leap and move on to the next step of your career journey, read up on how to organize your job search here.
  • Are you open to new opportunities but don’t know where to start? Read our blog on the benefits of networking.
  • If you’re an employer that struggles with retaining top talent, check out our advice on employee retention strategies that will keep your company’s head above the water.
  • Stumbled across this blog and not entirely sure how you got here? Welcome to our website!

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Posted on Jul 12, 2023