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How to Resign Without Burning Bridges

How to Resign Without Burning Bridges

by David Landau

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Quitting your job is rarely easy and for many people, the idea of sneaking out the back door to avoid any uncomfortable conversations with their employer is a tempting one. However, the Accounting world can be a small one – you never know when you may run into an old colleague or need to call in a favour from an ex-manager.

Whatever the reasons for leaving your job, to help you navigate this process with grace (and not damage your reputation), we’ve put together some advice on how to resign without burning bridges.

Be Clear and Courteous

Once the decision to leave has been made, one of the most important things to remember is to remain courteous and considerate throughout the whole process. Talk to your manager (or give them your resignation letter) before telling anyone else in your team – even if you have trusted colleagues. After all, there’s nothing more awkward than your superiors hearing about your intentions from somebody else. Remember to discuss the extent of your role in notifying the rest of the team of your decision. Will your manager handle the announcement, or will you be involved? It goes without saying, but providing sufficient notice (and being clear about your end date) will leave everyone prepared and ready for the transition.

Stay Flexible

A little flexibility on your part can make the resignation process much smoother for employers. For example, a common request we see is organisations asking people to stay on a little longer to ease the transition whilst they recruit or train a replacement.

However, this isn’t always possible or appropriate, especially if you’ve committed to a start date at a new Accounting job. And while it’s important to give enough notice, giving too much is not necessarily wise either. Once people know you’re leaving, you can be perceived as an outsider as people look to the future without you in the team. It will ultimately come down to a judgement call on your part – you’ll need to decide if you’re willing and able to accommodate any requests that come your way. Getting the ‘tug of war’ balance right between leaving on a good note and ensuring your new employer is prioritised should be approached carefully.

End on a High Note

Remember, it’s not just first impressions that count! The way you conduct yourself when you resign will be one of the lasting memories your colleagues will have about you. If you want to maintain good connections and protect your reputation, it’s essential to leave on a positive note.

This may be a challenge, especially if you just can’t wait to go, but there will always be something good to focus on as you close this chapter. Think about the aspects of the role that you enjoyed, and any skills learned that could be taken with you to future roles. Consider the relationships you have established and the lessons that any challenges may have taught you. However you may feel about the role, showing appreciation for the little things will go a long way towards retaining positive connections with your ex-colleagues.

Be Prepared for a Counter Offer

Although counter offers are commonplace in the Sydney Accounting market (after all, your employer may be reluctant to let you go), it’s well known that the majority of people who accept one  end up leaving within six months anyway. Be prepared for any counter offers that come your way.

While a counter offer can be a wonderful form of validation, think about what is important to you, and the reasons you were leaving your job in the first place. On top of that, why has it taken your resignation to kick them into action? Ask yourself whether the counter offer addresses these issues and whether it is likely that management will follow through. What are the pros and cons of staying at your job? This will help you make your decision.

In the end, you need to make the best choice for you and your Accounting career. Whatever road you take, be firm and professional in your decision.

Summary

These are just a few ways that you can make leaving your Accounting job a more positive experience for everyone involved, without having to make a quick exit!  If you’d like more advice on resigning or feel you’re ready for your next move in the Sydney Accounting market, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Richard Lloyd.