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Submitted by US101 on


I just listened to the "How to Resign" podcasts and I was taking notes.

How to Resign

Preparation Phase
1. This phase takes 6 weeks. 2 weeks to prepare and give 4 weeks notice.
2. Have 6 weeks of cash available.
3. Have the other job first. Accept the offer before resigning.
4. Assume you’ll lose access the minute you tell your boss.
5. Create a Transition folder. Describes where you are and what you see happening in the next 90 days.
6. Write instructions for your absence.
7. Do reviews of each of your people.
8. Make lunch appointments with colleagues.
9. Tell no one.

Delivery Phase
1. Do not give resignation in writing. Tell you boss in private.
2. Never give resignation in anger.
3. You don’t have to answer any questions from your boss.
4. Have your Transition folder with you.
5. Tell no one when you leave your meeting with your boss.

In-between Period
1. Expect a counter-offer.
2. Expect disenfranchisement.
3. Professionals work hard during this period.
4. Go home at 5:00.
5. Talk to your benefits specialist.
6. Shut up during the exit interview.

Mark's picture
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Not bad! :D

We'll take it from here.


Todd G's picture

Mark and Mike,

In regards to the resignation, what if you are staying within the company and moving up the ranks? Is this handled any differently and if so how?

The problem is, is that everyone knows and this has gotten back to my peers as well. They (my current colleagues) are worried about me leaving especially during a crucial survey coming up. I have reiterated that I haven't heard anything official and left it at that.

I know in the podcast... "TELL NO ONE" Unfortunately, I work with about 100 people on any given week and know them fairly well (that's my job). This is a department with low moral, high turnover, and a lot of new staff. People are getting burned out and I think they are looking forward to some new direction and leadership. Therefore, they were very excited when I interviewed for the position.

So needless to say, the "TELL NO ONE" rule hasn't applied here. I want to make this transition as smooth as possible, because I am leaving a deparment where there are only three of us who do the same job and and it's very unique. Therefore, I have already started my succession plan and putting together my packet of information of projects, etc.. So I know I am hopefully doing something right here!

Any other suggestions :?

Mark's picture
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Surely you're not suggesting that you want to apply all of a cast on how to resign (which means to leave a company) with taking an internal promotion? Talk about night and day!

Regarding an internal promotion, the tell no one rule still applies, and all these people that say they "know" don't know ANYTHING. Unless it's been announced, TRUST ME, nothing is official. NOTHING.

Since it's not official, you would look foolish to say anything now. Saying nothing in this situation APPLIES, but for completely different reasons.

If you're fairly certain, STILL say nothing... but quietly, without alerting anyone, go through those steps that seem to make sense to you regarding leaving your present role (reviews, planning documents, etc.)

Also, find out what the timing is, and when you WILL know, and when it WILL be announced. Because... your effectiveness in your existing role will PLUMMET the moment your new role is announced.

And, I don't know anything yet, but it sounds like congratulations are in order. Well done.


Todd G's picture


Thank you. I just didn't know if this was handled any differently than if one were actually leaving the company. The issue at hand wasn't me who was talking, it was staff to staff. The staff in which I will be supervising asking questions and talking with the staff who did the interview.

One thing I hadn't mentioned, was this was a three hour process. One hour with the staff who asked great questions, one hour with three of my peers (clinical coordinators), and one hour with the director. Not gruling, since I was well prepared for just about anything.

I let a lot of the rumors fly since there wasn't anything official announced. So I know this left a lot of questions running around.

The waiting is over and it was officially offered and ACCEPTED and ANNOUNCED. So the Cat's out of the bag. Now it's the timing. I know my new director would like to me to start in 4 weeks, but my current director want's me to stay 6 weeks. I have already started planning and preparing for the transition.

Like I mentioned before, there are only three of us in my department who can do our job right now, so I am sure the heat is on to look for my replacement, which will be tricky depending on the qualifications. This person has to have significant experience our area of specialization. Let's just say that in my profession, you have be well experienced to deal with the critical nature and complexities of problems and deal with them fast and accurately. NO ROOM FOR ERROR!

This is a move in the positive direction and I am committed to making sure the tranistion goes smoothly.

Thanks for all your advise and I'll be back with more stories on how things have progressed.


Mark's picture
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Great! Sounds like you're in the zone for making a good transition if you have 4-6 weeks. Make good use of it, as a way of honoring your existing team.

Keep us posted!


Todd G's picture


If it weren't for your words of wisdom, I'd be writing that dreaded resignation letter too. The "Hey Boss, I am resigning" work just as well and created a fairly good dialouge.

Thank you.

Alphaman's picture

Hello everyone;

Just to let you know that I'm right in the middle of a bad resignation. This person walks in last week and gives a two week notice - their approach is somewhat like they are doing me a favor by giving notice.

After listening to the resigning podcasts and hearing how a professional would make and execute a decision like this, I wanted to usher them out the door. :(

Mark's picture
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As long as they're still there, use the cast to be clear with them about what you expect in their remaining days, and do it with as much of a smile as you can.


itilimp's picture
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I've finished listening to this 3 part cast now and there was one thing in particular that struck a chord with me more than any other.

Background: I was personally really upset when some months ago, we were informed in a one-off meeting about something else our IT manager would be leaving at the end of the month. This was delivered by his manager whilst he sat beside him quietly. It was the first I'd heard and it affected my mood for days. Partly because we were losing him, partly because he had been a great support, and partly because I didn't see it coming so soon (I thought it was a year off).

Anyhow, returning to your podcast. In the delivery phase, item 9, to paraphrase:

"Tell no one, not even a PA. This is your boss's decision, not yours."

That IS what the IT manager did. He kept it quiet to the team, and it was his boss that broke the news the way he wanted to, and not he himself. Somehow this has skewed my previous perception of how the entire thing was handled, and for that I thank you both.

Mark's picture
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Glad to hear it... that's a tough call. It really is the right call, but it's quite counter-cultural today. If the boss wants to abdicate to you, then you need to do it well also.. but it is the boss's purview.


mrdupfx's picture


I really enjoyed the how to resign podcast. I have a clarifying question regarding not sharing details of the other offer with your boss.

In my situation, I am moving to a competitor company. It seems almost unethical to not give them the option of asking me to leave that day or having the choice of allowing me to stay. What do you think?

Mark's picture
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Well, of course... but I'm not sure why you didn't think we were recommending that.

I don't think we suggested you would wait until you annouced your resignation to start all of this process... you do that as you're getting to the point of decision.

And, as we said, you should be prepared when you resign, to be walked out the door.

What am I missing?


mrdupfx's picture

Thanks for the reply Mark.

I was responding to the comment that one isn't obliged to share details about what the new offer is. I was curious as to whether you would say the exception to that rule is if you are moving to a competitive company.

Clearly, I have no intention of doing anything unethical whatsoever, I just wasn't sure if it was ok to not answer the question of where I'd be going directly.

Mark's picture
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Yes, you're obligated to tell them it's a competitor. You'll be asked to leave that day... but it's too bad. The lack of trust is sad but true.


taragl's picture

Mark and Mike,

The How to Resign podcast was incredibly useful to me. I listened to it several months ago while I was considering resigning, a few more times as I did my preparation work, then again on the way to work this Tuesday -- the day of my resignation.

I went into the meeting with a binder of your suggested prep work. My organization has ten employees and this kind of preparation is unprecedented. My manger was visibly relieved to have his most pressing questions already answered in writing. During the resignation he complimented my attention to detail -- which is really more than anyone can hope for during a difficult conversation.

I diverged from your guidelines in a few areas that were specific to my situation. For example, I asked, and was granted, permission to tell my direct report and one co-worker of my departure immediately before the staff annoucement. My concern was that the annoucement would be mishandled (indeed, it was) and I felt they should hear it directly from me the right way.

Thanks again for making a difficult process into a productive one!

KS180's picture

If you give your notice and the employer asks you to leave immediately; are they obligated to pay you the remaining time (two weeks)?


tcomeau's picture
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[quote="ksweeney"]If you give your notice and the employer asks you to leave immediately; are they obligated to pay you the remaining time (two weeks)?
It depends. Surprise.

It depends on where you are, what the terms of your employment are, how you are paid (advance or arrears) whether you are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, local, state or federal regulations, and the employer's customary practice.

I would get paid through the two-week pay period even if I were fired for cause today. (Halfway through the period.) If my wife were fired, and I suspect if she quit because she was tired of cleaning up after her boss, she'd only be entitled to her pay through the moment of her quit. (It's 13:22 on the East Coast, so she'd probably only get paid half a day for today.)

She might try to sue to get the other week, but it would be an uphill, expensive battle. She'd likely lose, so she'd only be doing it out of spite.

My dad, on the other hand, was successful in getting the extra pay for his coworkers on several occasions, because they were covered by a CBA. (He was a shop steward for his union. If you Google me, the ninth result, from the IRS, is him, not me. :) )

I suspect M&M would suggest this is like a very short layoff, and people who aspire to lead should have enough financial cushion that skipping a paycheck is just inconvenient, not a problem.

Are they obligated? I think ethically, yes, they are. Legally? Probably not. IANAL; YMMV.


Mark's picture
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While Tom is right about the details, the largest general answer is no. You're owed legally for work you've already done, but if they say you're done today (the two week notice is just a courtesy, not a legal obligation in the way that working for someone creates) you're only owed through today.


slymcmosa's picture

The Manager Tools 'How to Resign' playbook worked perfectly for me.

I am in my second week at my new position. I went through a very lengthy resignation process (almost 8 weeks given the holidays) at my previous position and following the M-T game-plan, I had the smoothest resignation I have ever had.

At the time, I didn't have DRs, so I just had to focus on departmental responsibilities. But the President and other founders really appreciated and respected the preparation I gave to the transition planning. I left them in good shape, and they were very civil to me.

Thank you Mike and Mark. My situation at that place had been anything but hospitable at times, and I had a lot of dread about what it might be like to give notice. I had a positive history with the President that preceded my time at his company, so I really wanted to preserve that rather than burn a bridge. I think in many ways my work in preparation for leaving, strengthened that bridge rather than torched it.

I was even asked to hold a debriefing conference for the investor team and their business consultants in my last weeks, so obviously I left with trust still in tact. I was flat out amazed with how I was treated in my last days. (Maybe they were just happy to see me go!)

Thank you again for this wonderful service that is Manager Tools, it really reduced some significant stress in my life.


balert's picture

I plan on resigning. I listened to the "how to resign" podcast series. However. I have a scenario that wasn't addressed in the casts.

The main part of the umbrella organization to which my team is assigned is located in a different part of the US along with my boss. We have interoffice video conferencing, but how do I manage the paperwork associated with the transition files? Should I scan them to PDF's and send as email attachments after I announce my departure? How about the discussion itself? Phone call or videoconference?

Thoughts or comments are appreciated.

maddy's picture

I used this postcast with great success during the last time I changed companies. Time has passed and I find myself needing to move on again. This time, I'm telecommuting to my company from hundreds of miles away and I'm only in the office a few times a year.

Do I plan my resignation to coincide with the in-office visit? I can't imagine that this is a task you can handle on the phone or via email. Should I plan to go back to the office again during my 2-4 weeks (or even stay my two weeks in-house) if they decide to have me stay that long?

raulcasta's picture

I have used the pointers from the casts, all except one: "the resignation letter", which I delivered after talking to my boss in private.  This was the right thing to do, from my point of view, as a way of showing my boss his well deserved respect.  This letter served a triple purpose: state clearly my resignation as of date, a short-concise summary of my time at the firm, and a warm than-you to my boss for everything.  It went really well and I got 4 weeks to transition smoothly, for which I have been preparing since the end of last year. 

I'm leaving on super great terms and even planning to do business with my ex-employer from my new job.  The doors are open at my old job.


Tuatara's picture

I recently had one of my directs receive a promotion (he's now one of my colleagues). It meant quite an internal shuffle in my region, but this resignation cast was a great foundation to use in this situation. I adapted it to ensure the outgoing middle manager did not leave behind a mess that his replacement could then use as an excuse to start slowly. Now one would assume that it can't have been left in too much of a mess or why would he be promoted? I wasn't going to leave it to chance. As it turns out, the person he was replacing (in another country) did leave behind quite a mess. The transistion has been very smooth with very minimal impact on the front line team (apart from two that got promoted in the process, but that's impact in a positive way) and our results are still going nicely. It also also enhanced my directs professionalism when leaving his role.

Thank you MT. Oh, and Mark, you are right when you say "and all these people that say they "know" don't know ANYTHING". The number of rumours going around before any official announcement was staggering, almost to point of being humourous.

livlab's picture

I decided to resign so I could move to another city where my wife got a new job. I've worked at the company for six years with tremendous success and since this is a newer division I am seen as one of the people with most experience and one to turn to for history and background on most products and projects. I'm telling you that because I expected a reaction once I resigned.

I re-listened to all the MT podcasts and planned this for much longer than 6 weeks. I did all the prep work necessary (from transition plans & instructions to ensuring I had HR's number on my phone in case they decided to escort me out of the building on the spot). I made sure I waited for my boss to be in town (he's often traveling). He rescheduled my meeting with him twice as he often does.  I walked into his office, sat down and said "____ I'm here to resign from my position."  My boss said "what a bummer". He asked "Is there something we could have done differently" (notice, "we" and "could" not "I" or "can"). I told him I was not resigning because of the job, but because I wanted to move to another city. (Side note: He responded to messages on IM 6 times during our meeting. I kid you not).

I told him I would gladly stay longer than two weeks and help with the transition if it took up to 4 weeks. He told me that was not necessary so I confirmed that my last day would be 2 weeks from that day. I asked him how he wanted the news shared with the rest of the department since we had a department meeting the end of that day. He said he preferred to wait until the following week so he had time to talk to other executives and HR. I agreed to all his requests.

Two hours later I went to the department meeting. He said a few things including how we had lost a few people recently and then said he was also sad to announce that I was leaving. Remember: He specifically asked me to wait another week. Someone asked when my last day would be. Before I could utter a word, he proclaims "Next Friday" (which is a full week before the date we agreed upon.

I was unable to get a hold of him after this to clarify what had changed or why. Also, I did not hear from HR at all after resigning. I had to email them three times before hearing back (they were nowhere to be found when I called and went to their offices). They asked ME what my last day was rather than know it already from my boss. I had to ask for information on how to transition benefits, etc. They provided me with a leaflet via email and asked me to do an exit interview on my last day, which I am declining. 

This is a major Fortune 500 company. I am livid with this whole thing. I'm keeping my cool and working as hard as possible to get this all done professionally and leave the positive legacy I worked hard to establish over 6 years, but I am feeling that this company clearly does not give a damn about me. I'm glad I am leaving. Even though my reason to leave was completely unrelated when I decided to do it.

afmoffa's picture

Yes, they handled it badly. When you're in their shoes, you'll undoubtedly handle it better. Smile, shake hands, walk out the door. Being angry is very useful when it spurs you to action, but you've already resigned, so there's no place for anger now. Smile, shake hands, forgive your enemies (they're not really your enemies, just jerks, but forgive them that much), and walk out the door.

Best wishes on your new start in a new city. 

afmoffa's picture

Ha! Old me wrote the last comment on this thread many moons ago, and here I am, at the end of a difficult but necessary and satisfying day, having resigned using (most of) the M-T method.

Despite a tremendous urge to soapbox during my morning meeting, I kept it to the basic pleasantries and told my boss I would be leaving to put more time into my freelancing, and that I was at his disposal until January 1 with any help he or the team needed. Today culminates a rough week of paperwork and end-of-year reporting so that I could put a lot of organized data on my boss's desk and show that I would do my best right to the end.

Mike and Mark, you belabored the point during the podcasts, but you were absolutely right to do so. There is no way my boss would reinvent company culture on my recommendation. By keeping my mouth shut, I ended the day with ping poing and handshakes rather than heated words and cold stares. They're taking me out for a farewell dinner at the end of the month. I'd call that a home run. (I've never heard a Manager-Tools podcast for farewell dinners, but I strongly suspect Rule #1 would be "One drink. One. Even if your former boss is buying."

"Be discreet with your boss, and set your own self free." Or words to that effect.

Thank you very much. 

ProcReg's picture

7 years after the cast...

I'm 30; still young enough to not have a clue on how to resign a position. I've never really gotten to, most of my work due to the economy has been contracting; once the project is done, so are you.

I (sort of) have direct reports, but no real authority. I pulled my boss aside, and said, "I'm resigning. You've given me a great opportunity, X is my last day." She's not spoken to me in the three days since, which supports my decision. She's been pretty bad.

The leadership team, however, has been super impressed by how I've handled it. It's not just about ones boss sometimes.

I made sure that I had scanned and emailed my offer letter and finished all my HR paperwork for the New Firm before breaking the news at about 2:30pm. I was fully prepared for a two week, unpaid vacation.



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