This article covers only the emotional aspect of a resignation process, straightforwardly:

Commandments of a successful resignation

  • Whatever how you feel about your boss, the situation, the position, you will leave on good terms. The world is small, you might cross paths again.
  • In writing, consider including your own version of the following: “I deeply appreciate your understanding that I am not in a position to consider a counteroffer, as my decision to resign is final.” or “This was a complex decision that required a lot of thought, it is now a final decision which I trust you will respect.
  • You need to get prepared for how and what you will feel as you announce that you leave. Your relationships with your colleagues are important and they will have an impact on you:
    • Choose who you will hand over your resignation letter to.
    • Identify if there are one or more persons who will be highly impacted by your decision.
    • What will be the response of your team to your choice of leaving?
  • These 3 questions should have helped you to anticipate how you will address reactions. But if your answers lead you to reconsider your decision to resign, leave emotions away and refocus on thinking and facts.
  • When you resign, your boss will ask for more information: which company, position, salary, why them, why now, who will you report into, when do you start, etc.. Decide exactly how much you want to share before the meeting. Then stick to it.
  • Prepare a sentence to politely decline sharing any more specific information, because your decision is made and you would like them to respect your decision.
  • Time to switch topic: “let’s talk about how I will finish this project and transition… within the timeframe of my notice period”, the faster your boss understand that this is not a negotiation, but that you’re really leaving, the easier it will be for you.
  • It’s reaction time! Once your boss has processed (from 10 seconds to a minute) what you’re telling him… he will start building the long list of all that needs to be done to backfill your position and onboard a replacement. This will get you a weird shake of emotions.
  • It’s stressful, but it’s normal, you’re okay. You will most likely experience a fear of the unknown and a bit of anxiety: it’s your natural instinct, looking for a zone of comfort, of routine and habits: it’s your “safe corner”. This very place lacks opportunity for growth. It’s likely to be part of why you were open to new opportunities for your career, family and finances.

If you receive a counteroffer:

  • Your boss knows how much work, time and money replacing you will cost. His immediate reaction will be to save himself the trouble by making you a financial counter offer which starts with “how much are they paying you?”. Share the number, and he will match/exceed it. You’re better off not giving the number. Imagine the following: you give the number, he exceeds the offer, you still turn it down: bitter for you, annoying for him. He will try to continue to find a solution to a problem, where there is none. Don’t give the number.
  • Second counteroffer: this one will come once the employer factors in everything (hiring someone else, paying a recruiter fee, training, relocation, signup bonus, higher salary, value of time and effort), including the risk that your replacement might not be up to your standard and the impact on your team’s morale. This might end up being a pretty big number. Realize where the money will come from: advance bonus payment… and then realize that you’ll be considered unloyal.

Emotional blackmail methods:

  • “Your projects will fail without you.” “I never saw it coming, I thought you were happy with us.” “You’re a¬†family friend… but I never imagined that you would do this.” “Did you think about your team? How can you leave them? They need you!”
  • Yes, you have brilliant relationships with colleagues. Those of them who are true friends will remain friends and will want what’s best for you, no matter the situation.
  • Your boss is paid to run a business. He hated letting go people, but had to, because that was in the best interest of the company. And it’s the same for you and your career: avoid the brief moments of discomfort related to resigning, and your career will nosedive… just like a business goes bankrupt if it doesn’t lay people off to avoid feeling bad about it.
  • Remember that guy who resigned, and how fast he was replaced? Yep, it will be the same for you, whatever how important and unique you feel you are. You have build relationships with people, that’s great, but these must not rule the direction of your career.

Congratulations on your decision to move forward in your career.