Leaving an Organization Amicably

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Whether you have a love-hate relationship or a love-love relationship or hate-hate relationship with your present employer, when it comes to leaving an organization amicably, there are some definite best practices to follow.

Probably the most important thing to remember is that you might need the company for a reference in the future. So do not burn your bridges by giving your boss the double bird on your last day—despite how badly you may want to do it. Also, keep in mind that although the business world seems colossal, it can actually be quite small. Yes, you may actually encounter your former boss or colleagues at your next job or at a job down the road.

To ensure that this important employment bridge does not go up in flames, provide two weeks’ notice. Two weeks is the traditional period you should give an employer because this way an employer will not have to scramble to find someone to replace you or have a newfound reason to give you a bad reference down the road. In addition, this way you have an opportunity to tie up any loose ends, finish any important projects as well as ready your colleagues for your departure and any temporary responsibilities they may have to take on. However, be sure not to slack off during your last two weeks, because that is yet another reason for an employer to give you a poor reference in the future.

Also, make sure that there is no confusion about when your last two weeks begin and end. This is where the official letter of resignation comes in. Although not the most pleasant thing to perform, it is necessary. The resignation letter serves as a formal confirmation of your departure. The letter should include the date of your resignation, the statement, “Effective two weeks from the date of this letter, I resign my position as (blank),” and your signature. Anything else you wish to include on the letter is OK, but make sure all of the statements are cordial as to not bite yourself in the butt. For this letter, being straightforward is the best policy.

It is also important to review the organization’s employee handbook (that is, if it has one) and benefits booklet before leaving. This way, you will know exactly what you are entitled to be paid after resigning, such as unused vacation time. Make sure that the HR department also has all of your correct contact information — address, phone number, etc. — because you will need to be sent your W-2 form at the end of the year.

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