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5 Steps to a Smooth Resignation

Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that you want to quit your job. It’s time to take steps toward a resignation, but where do you begin? Here are some tips on how to successfully quit your job, without burning important bridges in the process.


The key to a good resignation is preparation. Make sure you’ve thought your decision through and can clearly articulate why you’ve decided to go. In addition, be sure you understand your organization’s resignation process. Start tying up loose ends and making sure all of your projects are cleaned up and ready to go. You can even subtly start cleaning out your desk so that the exiting process goes more smoothly. Make sure your boss is the first one to hear about your resignation. It may be tempting to talk to close coworkers, but the last thing you want is for your boss to hear of your resignation through someone other than yourself.


Once you’ve decided you’re definitely going to resign, the next step is to write your resignation letter. This will act as official written notice of your intention to resign from your current employer. This is where you can include information on your last day and formally write your intention to leave. Here are few tips for writing your resignation letter:

• On the resignation letter, it is customary in Japan to write that you are leaving due to “personal reasons.”
• After your explanation, write your expected date of departure, Japanese law is to give 2 weeks’ notice, but 1 month is most common. Then, write your name and department toward the very bottom of the page. Don’t forget to place your stamp after your name and department.
• End the letter with the name of the company, followed by the CEO’s name in the top corner of the page. Make sure that the CEO’s name appears higher up on the letter than your name does.
*If you’re lost on how to format the letter, a quick Google search of “Taishoku Negai (resignation letters) ” will give you a really good idea of where to start.


Once you’ve prepared, you can go into a meeting with your boss, resignation letter in hand, ready to explain your decision to leave. It’s important here to remember that your boss doesn’t need to know every detail about why you’re quitting the company, especially if it’s negative things about the company itself. Keep your explanation short, succinct, and positive. There’s no need to burn unnecessary bridges when you’re already leaving.

Obviously, there are many different ways a resignation meeting could go. While most bosses require at least a two weeks transition period, some may want you to leave immediately. Be prepared for either scenario. It’s a good idea to offer assistance and training to make the company’s transition a little bit easier. Additionally, make sure you receive verbal confirmation from your manager that they understand and acknowledge your resignation as a lack of confirmation could affect your leaving date.


One thing to be very aware of is the possibility of your boss counter offering when you try to resign. This is often a small increase in pay or benefits to entice you into staying in your current position. This can very tempting and the idea of staying at the company you’re comfortable at can feel like an easy compromise. There are many reasons accepting a counter offer is not a good idea. One is that while it may seem like they’re making compromises for you; it is really only in the best interest of the company. Replacing a senior executive can cost the current employer as much as 213%of that executive’s annual salary. Bumping up your pay a bit is much more cost effective for them than replacing you with someone new. Additionally, a recent study found that 50% of candidates who accept a counter offer leave the company within 12 months. It is important to remember that you’re quitting your job for a reason and it’s unlikely a small pay increase will make up for your original reasons for leaving.


If you haven’t done so already, get advice from a professional. Even if you don’t think you need one, a recruiter can help you edit your CV, enhance your interview skills, help you negotiate, and effectively prepare you to compete for the job you really want.

Talk to HR about logistical things. Check on eligibility for employee benefits, unused vacation and sick pay, health insurance, and pension plans. These are technical but important things you want to have in order before moving on.

On your last working day, it is nice to give thanks to your colleagues. It can be a good idea to bring a small gift of thanks when you leave, especially for colleagues who have been particularly helpful to your success in the company.


• Think about your decision and reasons for leaving
• Make sure your boss is the first to know
• Write a business-format resignation letter
• Give at least a two-weeks-notice but be prepared to leave immediately
• Meet with your boss and keep your explanation short and sweet
• Tie up loose ends and finish projects
• Offer guidance and training in your last weeks
• Skip the counteroffer
• Get logistics in order (benefits, vacation, 401k, etc.)
• Thank your colleagues
• Talk to a recruiter
• Start your new career

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