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The Oral Resignation

Resigning orally may place you in the compromising position of having to explain your decision on the spot.  Words are powerfully charged when you reveal a decision that has such an impact on your organization.  Choose your words with care.  Your boss may want to probe for factors that led to your decision.  You may be asked who or what is the reason for your leaving, or may be invited to offer suggestions to help make the organization more effective.  If you have had a close relationship with your boss, you may feel obliged to answer candidly.

Don’t fall for this trap!  Use your head and discuss personal, heartfelt matters outside of the office.  Remember, your interrogator is still your boss.  Whatever you say will be viewed as biased-after all, you have severed your relationship with the organization-and may eventually be used against you.  At this point you are no longer considered a team player, nor viewed as having the company’s best interest at heart.

Too often, resigning employees come to regret their comments when they are misinterpreted or exaggerated in the re-telling. Constructive criticism is no longer your responsibility, and carries a high cost which could jeopardize your good references.

Instead, offer sincere praise for the firm and those with whom you worked.  Prepare yourself beforehand by focusing on several positive aspects of your workplace, and mention them liberally when the opportunity arises.  Even if favorite aspects were, say the great lunches, or humorous stories told over coffee, better to mention such things that to harp on disappointments or shortcomings.  (You are addressing the negatives by moving on to greener pastures.)

You want to be perceived as positive, constructive individual in forward motion.  People will remember your last impression.  Make it your best performance.

You may want to tell your boss something like:

“I need to discuss something with you if you have a moment.  I’ve been made an exceptional offer by another firm, and I’ve decided to accept it.  My wife and I have given this opportunity a lot of thought.  As much as I’d like to advance within this company, we feel the new opportunity is out best long-term interest”.

“We deeply appreciate all that you and the firm have done for me here.  I don’t think I would have been presented this exceptional opportunity if not for your support and leadership.  I want to thank you.  I hope I can leave with your good wishes.  You’ve been a friend as well as a boss.

If probed for more information, you may want to claim that there is nothing else to say right now.  Simply communicate that you are leaving a good opportunity for an even better one that suits your aspirations.

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