When resigning, it is wise to do it gracefully

ON THE JOB

September 05, 2007|By HANAH CHO

Resigning. Giving two-weeks notice. Whatever you call it, it's imperative that you quit your job gracefully.

I was recently reminded of this when a colleague received an e-mail forward of a resignation letter of a lawyer, who detailed how much he hated his job. This lawyer provided a list of tasks he found tedious and went on to say why. (The fact that this resignation letter got away from the recipient and spread via e-mail to outsiders is another story.)

Talk about burning bridges.

So how much is too much information what it comes to quitting?

I asked Clay Parcells, a Baltimore-area regional managing principal at Right Management, a talent consulting and outplacement firm, to offer some tips about the proper way to leave a job.

Tell the boss first and in person.

"It's difficult to deliver bad news," he says. "So personally communicate it."

Give two weeks notice. That's still standard.

If employers want the resignation in writing, keep it short and sweet. Parcells says there is no need to get into reasons about why you are leaving, including that your boss is a tyrant. Confine the letter to your end date, and thank the boss and the company for the opportunity they have provided.

Be careful what you say in an exit interview.

The hiring or human-resources manager likely will ask you why you're leaving. If the reasons are negative, be mindful of how you share that kind of information.

"I caution people to be honest but don't dig up dirty laundry," Parcells says. "Do it in a very professional and positive way."

Lastly, Parcells has this advice for the boss: Accept the fact that an employee is leaving gracefully.

"Don't get angry and upset," he says. "You don't want to alienate the person because they'll help you in the transition."

Workplace tidbit: In celebration of Labor Day, here are two surveys on how workers feel about their jobs.

One conducted by Snag AJob.com, a Web site for hourly jobs, found that 61 percent of hourly and salaried workers are happy in their jobs. The survey, which interviewed 1,004 workers, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

In a survey by employment agency Adecco, 56 percent of 2,469 workers say they feel appreciated at work, while 75 percent say they are loyal to their employees. This poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun.com. Please include your first name and your city.

On the Job is published Monday at www.baltimoresun.com.

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