Why It Is Important to Resign Gracefully

By Farhan Shah

In a lifetime, the average person will have held 10 different jobs. Assuming the average Singaporean starts working at the age of 22 and retires at 62, he or she would have stayed approximately 4 years in each position before moving on.

According to the Ministry of Manpower, the average monthly resignation rate since 2006 has been hovering around 2%. That means in a company of 100 people, approximately 2 people tender every month.

Some leave on a good note, while others might stomp out of the company in a huff, leaving behind disgruntled colleagues and employers. Although it might feel good to give everyone who has pissed you off a piece of your mind since you won’t be working with them any longer, it will only backfire in the long run.

Here are 3 reasons why it makes sense that you resign gracefully from your position.

1. Maintaining relations

Burning all ties with your soon-to-be former colleagues and bosses is akin to career suicide, especially if you are moving to a different company in the same industry. Tales of your tardy behaviour and misdemeanours will spread very quickly, even more so if it is a small industry, so it is always good to end things on a good note.

Even if you are jumping ship to another unrelated industry, it is still good to maintain relations. You’ll never know when new business opportunities might arise that allows you to tap on the contacts you’ve cultivated in your former company, resulting in a win-win situation for both parties, a nice feather in your hat, and a pat on the back from your boss.

You shouldn’t discount the possibility that your career path might cross with your colleagues or boss again in the future. Your boss might be on the hunt for a new job and happen to land a supervisory role in your new company, with you being one of the subordinates. If you took a dump on your boss’ desk on the last day, rest assured these events stay in someone’s memory for life. Stranger things have happened.

2. Backpedalling to your old job

Occasionally, things don’t work out in your new job and you will be pining for your old colleagues, your old chair and pretty much everything you missed about your old job. By resigning gracefully from your old job, you still leave the door open for a possible return in the future, either in a new or same position.

Keep tabs on the hunt for your replacement and if they are unable to find someone capable to replace you, right at the same time you realise your new job is not everything it was made out to be in the brochure, you can ask whether you could return. Most, if not all, companies will welcome you back into the folds because you are already acquainted with your position and the company doesn’t need to spend resources to train someone new.

3. End happy, start happy

Ending on a good note from your previous job will let you start your new adventure with a new company on a good note as well. You will have no excess baggage and be ready to start on the right foot with your new colleagues. After all, negativity breeds contempt, which would not bode well for your future in the new company.

So now that you are convinced of the merits of resigning gracefully, how then do you go about leaving the company on a good note?

• Serve your full notice. Try not to request for an early release because it will only leave a foul taste in the mouth of your employers who then have to redouble their efforts to find your replacement.
• Offer help in finding a replacement. Besides speeding the time it takes to find someone new, your supervisor will appreciate your help.
• Write a thorough handover document. Besides helping your replacement get up to speed in the shortest possible time with the responsibilities that you used to hold, it frees up more time for your supervisor to do more essential things, instead of having to handhold the new person during the first few weeks of the job.
• Offer to help for the first two to three weeks after your last day. After all, the best person to teach what you used to do would be yourself. Give your contact number to your supervisor and your replacement in the event that something does screw up, and the only person who can fix it is you.


Are you ready to move on but unsure how to write a resignation letter? Check out this article for tips on writing the perfect resignation letter.

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