How To Resign With Dignity

08th August 2016


Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled—to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.  – Mary Oliver

It’s time to leave, to move on to something new. Or, grown tired of your work, you’ve done your dash, and now its time to exit! Either way a dignified approach is called for. With it you leave with integrity and grace.

Before the ‘I’m leaving conversation’ check your dates and write your letter. A clean and simple letter might sound like…

Dear Manager, I would like to inform you of my resignation, effective from 24th August 2015.

I appreciate the opportunities to increase my experience, to learn new skills and contribute to the business. Am happy to do what ever I can to help you during the transitioning period.

Sign, sealed and delivered in the meeting.

Breaking news of your leaving may invite a number of emotions, from you and your manager; discomfort, anger, excitement, shame, fear, happiness, hope…any of these emotions risk derailing the meeting. Stay present. Silently name the emotion and breathe in to it.

Prepare for this meeting and yo you speak with heart with dignity and power.

  • Make a time to meet your manager, perhaps, end of the day
  • Memorise your letter of resignation and have it with you
  • Practice opening line; been offered…As you know I’ve…been a difficult decision… 
  • Take 10 slow deep cleansing breaths, feet firmly planted on the ground
  • Recall a time you felt confident and powerful, hold that time and walk in with it
  • Walk tall and smile as you enter the room
  • Speak your opening lines and pass over the letter.

You are not responsible for how your manager reacts. There may be the why question. The what else could we have done one or what does this role offer you that we don’t one.

Chose to elaborate or not by simply re-stating your first line, then reinforce your gratitude for the opportunity. Note; elaboration is not an invitation to dish the dirt! And if all else fails to calm your manager, stand and leave the room – yes really!

Some companies offer exit interviews. Online, externally or with your managers manager. Here you can share a little more, with dignity! Criticising and complaining. Ranting and raving.  Are enemies of dignity. Instead, offer opportunities for improvement.

For example…‘It was great we invested in new technology and feel the business would have benefited by training us to use it effectively.’ Or, I respected my manager for their ability to see the bigger picture and it would of been great they had helped me understand it and how I could contribute more.

This is dignity! It comes from the heart. With the power to spread a little dignity retain good relations beyond employment.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss