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Dear Molly,

I was looking to get your advice on something. Yesterday, I was offered a new job at a different company, which I'm excited about and is something I've wanted to do for a while. My current company has been good to me—not amazing, but a good company to work for. I need to put in two weeks’ notice, as well as let everyone in the office know I’m leaving, but I’ve never gone through this before and I’m not sure how to handle it. Any advice? Would love your input,

Sincerely,
Ready to Resign


Dear Ready to Resign,

Congrats on the new job! This is an exciting time, especially because this change is something you wanted. Letting your current boss and co-workers know you’re leaving can be tough, but if you handle the situation gracefully and respectfully, they’ll likely be happy for your new opportunity. Here are the steps you should take.


Tell Your Boss First

Even if you’re close with your other co-workers, you must tell your boss first. Others at work might know you were interviewing, especially if they were your references, but the professional thing to do when quitting a job is to tell your boss first, in-person.

It is nerve-wracking to have this conversation, but keep the tone simple, complimentary, and professional. Depending on your relationship with your boss, either set up time on the calendar or simply pop over to their desk and tell them you’d like to speak in private today.

After some brief small talk, have your one sentence ready: “I've so enjoyed working with you here, but another opportunity has presented itself and I've made a decision to move on.”

He or she might ask you if you are interested in a counter offer, so decide before the meeting whether that's something you might entertain. Also, have the date in mind for your last day (two weeks from when you put in your notice is customary), so you can provide it when asked.

End the meeting by thanking your boss for his or her guidance and time. I also always advocate shaking hands, regardless of how informal the office culture is. Figure out next steps (talking to HR? telling the team or clients?), and bring a letter of resignation with you to give to the appropriate party, usually either HR or your boss. Keep the letter brief and professional. If you need help, here’s a helpful template.


Tell Close Co-workers and Mentors Personally

Once you’ve met with your boss, you’ll want to tell your work friends, special co-workers, and mentors yourself, ideally face-to-face (or if you can’t in person, via a goodbye email). You don't want someone who has been influential or important in your growth to hear through the office grapevine that you’re leaving—these relationships will likely transcend your current employment, and you want to preserve them even as you move on to your next position. After that, you can tell other people as you see them.


Have a Transition Plan

Spend the next two weeks planning for your departure and tying up loose ends. Work on a plan to lay out your responsibilities and provide suggestions for others who could assume these tasks once you’re gone. This will help your current boss to start the reassignment process, plus give you time to train others on your responsibilities. If it’s appropriate, offer to help find your replacement or write your job description.

Basically, be as helpful as possible. You can also offer to be available for questions via email after you leave if anything comes up, giving your current team reassurance you won’t leave them in a bind.


Have a Story for Why You Are Leaving

Once you put in your notice, be prepared to be asked by almost everyone, “Why are you leaving?” or “Where are you going?” So have a story prepared—something to the effect of “I have so enjoyed my time here, but this opportunity presented itself and will allow me to grow my skills in a new way” will help you paint your decision in a positive light.


Say Nice Things

Finally, remember that this is not the time to share war stories of working at your current company or to loudly proclaim "This is what I won't miss!Finally, remember that this is not the time to share war stories of working at your current company or to loudly proclaim “This is what I won't miss!” when something’s going wrong.

While you are leaving, everyone else is staying—and these are people you’ll likely cross paths with someday, especially if you work in a small industry. Remember to tell everyone how much you enjoyed working with them and how you hope to keep in touch in the future. And then do! Make sure to add your colleagues on LinkedIn or save their contact info before you go.