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10 Tips on Leaving Your Job with Dignity
By Sonya Buck, Australia


There are so many reasons you may be leaving your current role, most of them positive.

Reasons for moving on may include to progress your career elsewhere, for more remuneration; a tree or see change or unfortunately, things just haven’t worked out as you would have liked.

Whatever the reason it’s important to leave your job with dignity.

If you feel your employer has ‘done you wrong’ it would be easy to storm out and make a scene, but this can be very damaging for you professionally (and sometimes financially) and will only give you a few moments of satisfaction.

There is ‘leaving etiquette’ you should follow and here are a few important tips you may wish to consider:


  • Ensure you give the required amount of notice. Check your employment contract or company policies to find out the time frames involved.

  • If you are going to a direct competitor, check your company policies to see if they will require you to leave on the spot. If this is the case, have everything in order before you resign.

  • Be ready for any type of reaction from your boss, on rare occasions they will not be happy for you. For one thing, you might have created a problem for your employer, as they may have trouble replacing you. Keep things cordial, no matter what their reaction.

  • Write a professional resignation letter. Don’t use this as an opportunity to criticise your employer or let them know their shortcomings. Now is not the time to ‘burn any bridges’.

  • Ensure you advise your superior first and not your colleagues. It’s very unprofessional for your employer to hear of your decision from others. Better still, ask your employer if it is ok to let your colleagues know. They may wish to advise other senior staff first and sometimes they will want to be the one to announce your departure.

  • Don’t disparage your current employer to your colleagues. Besides being extremely unprofessional, this may result in them being unhappier in their role and they may be unable to leave.

  • Finish your work as much as possible, as this isn’t the time to ‘slacken off’. Unless you have a long term project which you can’t finish in the time frame, do all that you can to ease the burden on your co-workers.

  • If required, train any new employee or co-workers as much as you can in your role to ensure a seamless transition. Particularly if you are disgruntled, it may be tempting to hold back key information for the next person, but resist as your issue isn’t with them. (Note: I’ve been the next person!!!)

  • Participate in the exit interview, but ensure it is used to provide constructive feedback. It’s also ok to state the professional reasons you are leaving (eg. No advancement, low salary etc.), but stating your boss was a xxxxxx although satisfying at the time, won’t change anything in this workplace. Hopefully, you have already tried to work through any issues during your time at that employer.

  • Ensure your current employer’s proprietary Information remains confidential, even when you leave.


When leaving an employer you are going to be enthusiastic about your new role, but ‘doing the right thing’ in your old will keep your professional image intact and may even ensure the door is ‘left open’ should you wish to return.