You have been thinking about your job resignation for a while now. You have given your two weeks' notice, but your boss is not taking it well. What do you do?
When it comes to resigning, there are two schools of thought. Some strongly advocate the "why burn bridges? Leave on good terms!" approach. Others say that "You don't owe your boss anything if you're leaving, you might as well skip out in a blaze of glory." What's your take?
You should do whatever makes you the most comfortable. Metaphorically, If you want to leave by cutting off your boss' head and putting it on top of a pike for all to see, I won't judge you—and neither will this article.
But there's another option: how about leaving gracefully and keeping the door open for future opportunities with your company or business associates?
There are plenty of ways that people can hurt each other's feelings when they resign. Your boss, for instance, is the person you spend the most time with at work. You work together, eat lunch, go to meetings, and even travel together. It might not be easy to end your relationship with your boss, but it’s necessary if you want to move on with your career.
Here are some tips on how to leave your job without burning bridges. So read on, dear friend, and find out how to ensure everyone is happy when you give notice!
Lead with empathy and kindness during your job resignation
Think about what it feels like when you are told that someone is leaving the company or department. It is not pleasant, especially if they are leaving for personal reasons. You can make it easier for them by being upfront about why you want to leave, rather than just giving notice and leaving them in the dark.
In fact, many employers appreciate honesty from employees who have decided that it’s time for a change in their lives and career paths. Being honest about why you want to leave and staying positive about the future can help prevent any hard feelings from developing between you and your boss or coworkers.
Understand that you might feel some resentment for a while
You might feel some resentment for a while. You might be angry at your former boss, the company, colleagues, or the whole world. You might even feel like you are a giant baby about it all and that you should just suck it up and move on.
That is understandable—and normal. Resentment is one of those feelings we tend to hold in our bodies until they turn into something bigger than they started; when we don't release them, they can choke us emotionally and physically if we let them grow unchecked.
That is why it's important to acknowledge this feeling right now. It's just another part of what your job resignation means for you right now (even though there will always be more parts). Acknowledging it can help ensure that you aren't paralyzed by any of those emotions later on down the line.
Understand that your former boss might not be upset with you at all
During job resignation, it's common to think your boss will be upset. But that's not always the case. Your boss may have been ready for you to move on and find a better job, or they may see this as an opportunity for them. You never know until you ask.
When I got my first real job at a startup right out of college, I thought my boss would be disappointed when I told him I was leaving after three months on the job. But instead, he said something like: "You've been here long enough—it’s time for you to move on and find something that works better for your career." He wasn't just nice; he genuinely wanted me to succeed in whatever came next for me - and so did his entire team.
Don't feel guilty if your former boss didn't react well to your resignation
Don't feel guilty if your former boss didn't react well to your job resignation. This is a difficult situation, and you may feel responsible for how they felt. But it's essential not to take that on. No matter what happened, it's not your fault—and it's also impossible for you to control another person's reactions.
So even if your former boss was mad or upset at you (or themself) for losing the best employee in their department, just know that the only thing that matters is how you are doing with all this change in your life. You have a right to be happy, whether that means not thinking about them constantly or having negative feelings about them every time something reminds us of our old workplace. Well then so be it.
The exit interview is not the time to air grievances
A good relationship with your boss is nothing to shy away from. If you can get along with them, they might even be willing to help you find another job. They may also be able to give you valuable advice on how best to move forward with your career.
The exit interview is not the time or place for airing grievances, as this could negatively affect your relationship with that particular company in the future. You don’t want them thinking of you in a negative light if there are other jobs available at this company or others like it nearby.
Supportive relationships with colleagues can help you in your career down the road
You're probably wondering, "How can I maintain a good relationship with my current boss if he's giving me the cold shoulder?"
First, always maintain your professionalism. Even if your boss isn't treating you right, it doesn't mean they are a terrible person and should be treated poorly in return. Treat their cold shoulder as an opportunity for personal growth: maybe they are just having a rough day. Who knows?
Second, find ways to show appreciation for them as individual human beings who are also doing their job well enough that they have earned respect from everyone else around them (you included). If something specific about this person makes them stand out from other people at work, then bring that up next time when speaking with them directly. You could include something like how much more organized than most people here are, how much more fun-loving personality there is among us compared with other places where we've worked before.
If your former boss wasn't particularly sad to see you go, consider how it might change the relationship
If your former boss wasn't particularly sad to see you go, consider how it might change the relationship. You'll need to be very careful about how your conversations with them in the future. Will they be more likely to share information with you now that there's no longer an employment contract in place? What if they're competing against you for business?
These are all things worth considering as well:
How will my former boss react if I work with a competitor? Will they be at ease sharing information with me than she would otherwise have been? Or perhaps less so, because now that we aren't colleagues anymore, there isn't much pressure on her end to keep anything secret from me if sharing it makes sense.
How do I feel about being around someone who couldn't wait for me to leave? Suppose this person is my former boss (rather than just someone who used to work alongside me). In that case, this question should be answered carefully before deciding what comes next after resigning from their company or workplace altogether.
To sum up, when resigning from a job you like for personal reasons, it is best not to burn bridges. This means that if your boss takes the news about your job resignation badly and is upset with you, there are ways of dealing with this that will help maintain a good relationship.