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When a person plans to resign from a job, most career specialists argue that the approach needs to be just as nuanced and careful as when people interview for new jobs. Resigning should not mean shouting out, “I quit!” and storming out of a building, never to return. Even if the company an employee is leaving has not been a good employer, it makes no sense to burn bridges on the way out the door. This means there is a best way to resign, and it first involves notifying an employer two weeks before the last day of work.
Most employment experts recommend not giving less than two weeks notice, even if pressured by another company to start a job sooner. The majority of companies won’t withhold a new job when an employee gives this notice, since they would expect similar treatment from their own employees who resign. Usually it makes sense not to succumb to pressure from a new company by giving a present employer less than their due. However, it also makes sense not to give notice before two weeks, especially if the new job won’t begin for a few months. Something could happen, which makes that job disappear, so it is important to keep to the two-week rule.
Resignation should be done in person and also by letter, and that letter should be copied so a company can never claim that a person did not give appropriate notice. Prior to officially resigning, people may want to clear out their desks of personal material, but do so in a non-obvious way. Sometimes, resignation means an employee is escorted out the door by security, and might not be able to get back to his office. Thus a few days before a resignation is turned in, a person should make sure to clear their office of any valuable things like extra clothing, iPods, or photographs. Don’t forget the value of deleting any personal email accounts or other personal online accounts from company computers, as a new employee could recover this information.
Many people advise planning a job resignation for Friday afternoons, and this strategy is workable provided the appropriate supervisor or boss will be available to take the resignation. Otherwise, plan for another day when the right person is present to hear the resignation. It isn’t necessary to go into details about why a person is leaving or even give much information about any new job. Some employers may press these issues more than others, and many require an exit interview of sorts.
When employees resign, an employer might decide to meet resignation with a counteroffer for higher pay. Most people should consider in advance whether there is anything that would induce them to stay with their current company. Not all companies that make a counteroffer are happy to do so, and some may view a resignation as a form of blackmail. Unless an employee knows that company is of the former type, it can put an employee’s job at risk in the future if she intends to take the counteroffer instead of actually resigning. Usually, it’s wiser to ask for raises by other means that aren’t ultimatums.
After a person does resign, they may need to work their last two weeks, per notice. These weeks should be times to diligently train other employees, to gather letters of recommendation from peers, and to continue to offer the level of excellence as a worker that was demonstrated pre-resignation. It is not a time to gloat about the fine new job a person will soon be enjoying or to slack off and ignore company rules. Keep behavior professional and remain hardworking so that the final impression left with the company is a good one.
Two weeks should be the minimum amount of notice an employee should give if he doesn't want to burn bridges with an employer. Even then, the employer won't have much time to replace the employee if that person is in a critical role. If possible, giving even more notice is preferable.
The key here is to leave on good terms with the employer. You never know when you'll need a good reference or something else that won't be provided by an angry, former employer. Employees come and go and everyone understands that. However, it is always in the employee's best interest to leave on good terms when possible. Any brief satisfaction that comes with telling an employer to "take this job and shove it" could be outweighed by the negative consequences of using that tactic.
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