Sooner or later that dreadful day will come when it’s time to call it quits. My best advice is to follow these five easy steps when you're finally ready to cut bait:
1. Make sure your decision is final, and that even with a counter offer, you are done! If there's even the slightest bit of hesitation on your part, it will stick out like a sore thumb and could potentially leave the door open for a counter-offer (which may require a roll of TUMS).
2. Keep your decision to yourself. Never discuss leaving with a coworker - regardless of how long you’ve known them. People love to talk, and most couldn’t keep a secret if they tried. Someone letting your news out of the bag could be a real problem. Trust no one!
3. Make sure you have a written offer in your hands. Accept no substitutions - verbal offers don’t carry any weight when making an important decision like a resignation. Negotiate all of the fine points, have your offer in final form and make sure it’s on the new employers letterhead, dated and signed.
4. Keep your message - both written and verbal - brief and to the point. Less filling is better - it doesn't usually do any good to discuss where you're going. Don't arm your audience with ammo they can use to make a counter-offer or make you second-guess your decision. Leave no wiggle room!
5. Maintain a professional approach to the resignation, because your brand will live on in that organization – for better or worse. Give the proper notice (or honor your notice period if you have an employment agreement). If they ask you to leave before your notice, often you can receive compensation from your employer. Also make sure you take the high road and never badmouth the employer to the employees still on the island. Nothing good can come from that.
Now that you have what you need to resign, all that's left is the guts to pull the trigger!