how to: resign with grace

Yay! You’ve got a new job! Congratulations! Now, don’t ruin it by messing up your departure from the current place. We know you’re excited but how you behave on your way out will affect your reputation, your references and your future employability. Just remember that if your next job doesn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped, you might want to go back…


Here are our tips to help you leave with your head held high.

1. Give fair notice

Sure, your offer letter of 5 years ago says you need only give 2 weeks’ notice. But you were a nursery assistant then and you’re a room leader now. You know you’ll cause huge issues if you leave at such short notice. Don’t do it. Provide enough time for them to get their business covered. It’s the professional thing to do.


2. Do the deed gracefully

Plan your resignation. Set a formal meeting. Be polite, accentuate the positives, be firm but humble. Show appreciation and thank your manager. Follow up with a letter if necessary.


3. Don’t blab

To everyone else (either before you resign, or after) until your manager agrees a way to tell everyone. You need to be collaborative in helping convey the message at the right time, in the right way, to the right people.


4. Offer to train a replacement

And mean it. And do it well.


5. Smooth handover of keyworker responsibilities

Co-operate in the handover of your keychildren so everyone is familiar and happy with their new buddies.


6. Share the inside stuff

You know what we mean. The little nuggets. Like your special way of getting Max to sleep. Or the fact that Riya’s parents are worried about her development.


7. Don’t slack off

This is critical. If you ‘go walkabout’, start being lazy, come in late, avoid your admin and generally make it clear you have ‘checked out’, everyone will see that and everyone who counts will remember it. Forever. And it’s going to hurt you one day. Count on it.


8. Take no cheap shots

At your boss. Your colleagues. The nursery. Anything. It looks really weak and petty.


9. The exit interview

Be thoughtful and constructive while resisting the temptation to preach or criticise.


10. Thank everyone who helped you

It’ll mean a lot to them if you do, and they’ll remember it if you don’t. And not in a good way.


11. Say goodbye properly to everybody

Personally, not by email from your phone when you are out the door. Offer hugs and kisses, swap contact details and keep doors open.