Counter Offers and Career Suicide 3: Resign with Class

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How to Resign with Class

Take a moment and remember why you began your search in the first place. Was it solely based on money or title? Likely not. More than likely, there was a combination of factors in play – friction with your boss, uncertainty within the company, long commute or heavy travel, work/life imbalance, lack of engaging opportunities, glass ceiling, etc. Compensation and job title probably falls in that group, too, but the other aspects were your primary motivators. Right?

Accepting a counter offer will likely satisfy only 1 or 2 of those issues, at least in the short-term. I’ve already outlined the numerous negative implications arising from accepting a counter offer. Does the reward outweigh the risk? Doubtful. It’s the best practice to resign with dignity and class, and don’t allow your company the chance to make a counter offer. Here’s how to assure this:

  • Make it so your resignation letter states that you’ve accepted another job. This is finite; it isn’t open for discussion.
  • Thank your boss for the opportunity and that you’re appreciative for how much you’ve learned.
  • Offer to help with a seamless transition to train your replacement.
  • Walk away with your head up.

Things may be a little awkward for the next few weeks, but remember this: it’s strictly a business decision. You made a business decision based on what is best for you, your family, and your career. It’s not personal. Similarly, when a company does a Reduction-In-Force (RIF) or lay-off, it’s not personal. The company makes a decision based on what is best for the company. They don’t consider your situation nor your family’s. This is the same thing, and, if you resign with class, you shouldn’t feel bad, guilty, or awkward about it.

How much or how little you divulge about your new position is totally up to you. However, it is best to keep a tight lid on it until after you’ve left the building. Why chance someone poisoning the well, sabotaging your new offer, or co-workers feeling like you’re rubbing it in? Resist the urge to be loose-lipped. Keep your head up, remember why you made the decision, resign with dignity, and turn that page in your book. Don’t allow the Ninja to kill your career!


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