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How to Respectfully Leave Your Job

By August 24, 2021April 18th, 2024RETS Blog

The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the workplace, more than you think. Employees have spent the last year and a half working from the comfort of their own home. They have developed a pattern and have finally settled into this style of work. 

 However, things are looking up as we face loser restrictions and lifted mandates. Pools of employees are starting to turn to promotions, better pay and maintain flexibility that they have established within their roles. In a recent survey done by Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker, about 26% of employees stated that they would search for new jobs in the threat of decline of COVID-19.  

Whether you are at entry level or director, there are right and wrong ways to leaving your current company with respect. Make sure you follow these simple tips before you send off your resignation letter.  

Don’t shock your boss 

While it can be easy to cut ties as quickly as possible, it is essential to depart with professionalism. First, try scheduling a sit-down meeting with your superior and mention you have something you’d like to discuss. It is important that this conversation is face-to-face.  

This person should be the first to know about your position. It is easy to get carried away telling all your colleagues but this can be a recipe for disaster. It is the most respectful thing you can do for your manager/boss.  

Keep everything simple 

Before you hit send on your resignation letter, there are some things to consider. First, the simpler the better. At the very most, this letter should consist of a few sentences. It should also be sent directly to your supervisor. Note that this should be your boss’s boss or HR. Next, make sure you are locked and loaded in your decision before pressing send.  

The moment you have sent the letter off, the company will begin their process of off-boarding. There is no going back once this action takes place. Be sure to remain polite and respectful throughout the whole process. 

The Golden Rule  

We all learned the Golden Rule in elementary school; treat others how you want to be treated, or if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. However, when it comes to resigning, we take this saying a step further. If you do not have anything nice to say, don’t say much at all.  

There are three approaches to writing a resignation letter. The first being a little too honest. When practicing this approach people often describe every little detail as to why they have decided to leave the company. The second is the shortest. People who like this method cut straight to the point and are concise with their words. The third is the cheerful reflect where you write about all the wonderful memories you created and what you will miss about the company. The last two approaches are viewed as the more positive letters, obviously.  

It is important to keep in mind that you do not have to speak about your future plans outside of the company you are leaving if you do not want to. The best response if you are uncomfortable sharing this information would be “I appreciate the opportunity you have given me, thank you very much”. 

At least a two-week notice  

It is hard to spend more time in a work environment that you know you will be leaving soon. Nonetheless, the right thing to do is give your leave notice at least two weeks prior. Those who are leaving higher level positions should give more time (three to four weeks) to allow the company to adapt and replace.  

It is recommended that after giving your notice, try offering help with the transitional period. This can cover anything from your current projects, next steps, training, or anything else that you have time for. This action is a great indicator to your boss that you care about the company and want to leave it better than you found it.  

Be expressive with your appreciation 

It is no secret that networking is a huge part of business. For this reason, it is imperative that you leave your company on the best of terms. Sometimes people get hired back on years later due to the respectful way they left. A great example of an opening line for a resignation letter is “It’s been a great ride” or “Sadly, this chapter has come to an end” to then continue to thank the manager for all that you have learned.  

Like Elsa says, let it go 

Let go of your baggage from your previous employment. Sometimes it is nice to take a break in-between job and reflect on your goals and new accomplishments you wish to achieve. If this isn’t obtainable then let go of all your negative baggage you might still be holding onto.  

Just like relationships, learn from the past and move on. Don’t let past experiences carry into new ones. Bringing those negative “vibes” into your new role can affect your relationships with new co-workers, work and more. No matter what, find a way that works for you in that transition to be completely baggage free.  

Fred Geisinger serves as a Director at RETS Associates, a national real estate executive search firm. He can be reached at

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