How To Resign

Goodbyes are never easy, but there is one type of goodbye that can be particularly troublesome to navigate - a resignation.

You may recognise the cake below:

Chris Holmes made this resignation cake to leave his job as an immigration officer. Yes his idea is genius and yes, he received internet stardom, but for most people this would not be the preferred method, so listen up!

Whatever the reason for leaving your job there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it, (note: Cake= wrong). So here goes:


Even if you’ve had an awful time in your job you never know when your path might cross with a previous employer. Beyond this, there is the very important issue of references. If you burn bridges with your boss you risk having to go crawling back when you need a reference - and no one wants to be in that situation!

Telling the boss

Ok, so there is no getting away from it - this is definitely the scariest part.

Think about exactly what you want to say beforehand. It’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and say something you might regret. Always emphasise the positive - thank them for everything, tell them what you've enjoyed about working at the company and what you have learnt.

If you’ve kept your cards close to your chest your resignation may come as a complete surprise to your boss. Be prepared that they may act in the heat of the moment too and react badly to the news. Keep your cool and diffuse the situation by offering to help in the handover process and reassure your boss that you will leave any loose ends tied up before you go.

Putting it in writing

Once you have let your boss verbally - the hardest part is over - phew! Give yourself a pat on the back (not in front of your boss, he/she will think that’s strange)

The next step is to put your resignation in writing. The essentials you must include in your letter are the position you are resigning from and your intended leaving date. It's polite to also explain why you feel ready to move on, without dwelling on any negative aspects of your present job. Finally thank your employer for the opportunities they've given you and tell them the thing's you've enjoyed about your job. Keep criticism to a minimal.


Chances are if you have been a diligent employee your boss may present you with the offer of more money or more benefits. After all, finding your replacement will take time and effort. While a counter offer is flattering you have a think about why you are leaving. If it’s the money, the benefits or the responsibilities you may be able to use this discussion as a chance to haggle your way to what you really want.

Notice period

Whatever your notice period may be, you are legally obliged to work it, unless your employer is willing to let you go sooner. Your notice period should be buried in your contract somewhere. If it doesn’t say, the usual amount  is between 2 weeks and 1 month, so offer to work at least 2 weeks as a sign of good will.

The temptation is to spend your notice period turning up late, taking indulgent lunch hours and generally doing as little work as humanly possible. Again if the temptation to turn in to the world’s worst employee arises just think about the word ‘reference’!

There, it’s done - you are free!... Now that wasn’t too bad was it?!

Related content -

10 Things You Should Never Do At Work


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