What Happens After You Resign From a Job?

Businessman resigning, carrying box of belongings in office


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What’s going to happen ​after you resign? Depending on your employer, your job may be terminated immediately and you’ll be out the door. In other cases, you’ll stay on board to help with the transition until your departure date.

What Can Happen After You Turn in Your Resignation

Things can happen fast once you turn in your resignation, so try to anticipate how your employer may respond ahead of time. Don't resign out of anger or frustration without thinking through your next steps. Here’s ​​what to say when you quit your job.

Your employer's reaction will be determined by a number of factors, including company policy, your perceived value as an employee, and how difficult it will be to find and train your replacement.

Be Prepared for a Quick Forced Exit

Make sure you have everything you need from your workspace and work computer. Some employers will immediately escort employees from the premises, particularly if they sense they are disgruntled in any way.

The safest approach is to retrieve any important documents from your work computer that are of a personal nature prior to handing in your resignation. Also, set aside any samples of your work that might be useful as part of your professional portfolio or as you carry out your role in future jobs.

Know Your Bottom Line If Your Employer Asks You to Reconsider

Many employers will attempt to persuade strong contributors to remain with the organization after receiving a resignation notice. If you are resigning to take on another job, your employer may ask what salary it would take to keep you in the fold.

When Money Matters

If you are leaving primarily for financial reasons and would prefer to remain with your current employer, have a figure in mind that would induce you to stay. How hard you negotiate at this point will depend on the relative attractiveness of your prospective new job as compared to your current position. Be mindful that your employer might decide to let you go anyway if your expectations are out of line with their salary structure.

When It’s Not About the Money

If you are leaving for other reasons such as job satisfaction, working conditions, reporting relationships, or advancement opportunities, you might still have the opportunity to explore some accommodations with your employer.

What If They Ask You to Stay?

Be prepared to propose any realistic changes that would make your current job palatable or preferable to your new job option. Employers have been known to make all kinds of changes to retain strong performers including promotions, reassignment to other bosses, and changes in job duties.

Bringing Your Tenure to Positive Conclusion

Your employer may ask you to document the status of your projects, create an operations manual, or help train a colleague to carry out your responsibilities until a replacement is hired. They might even ask you to provide a longer notice to ease the transition.

Cooperate as much as you can and work diligently until your last day so that you are remembered as a dedicated employee. You never know when you might need your ​past employer to vouch for your productivity and attitude in the future.

The Exit Interview

Most organizations will conduct some type of exit interview with departing employees to assess factors contributing to your resignation. Carefully consider your personal perspective regarding whether to critique your boss or employer.

In most cases, there is little to gain with any strong criticism, and you are better off focusing on positive aspects of our employment and the attractiveness of any new opportunities. Negative feedback about supervisors or co-workers can filter back to them and influence their responses to future reference checks. Review these tips for handling an exit interview, so you're prepared in advance.

Finalizing Benefits Issues Upon Separation

Meet with Human Resources and discuss how any unused vacation will be handled. Find out how long you will be covered by health and life insurance policies through your employer. Make sure you have all the information needed to make decisions about pension, profit sharing, and 401(k) plans. Here’s information on employee benefits when you leave your job and when you will get your final paycheck.

Finalize Relationships

Be gracious and express your gratitude to colleagues left behind. Excessive celebration can be alienating. Let stakeholders and customers know how their concerns will be handled after your departure and thank them for their support.

Maintain a positive tone all around as you depart and it will be more likely that you will be remembered as a positive colleague.