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Professional Resignation, 7 easy steps for a smooth transition

Resignation is, most of the time, not an easy step.  Here are some critical steps to consider and reflect on before you quit your job, to ensure a smooth transition for you.


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  1. Pause and Reflect

Why are you leaving? Is a fit of anger that will end a wonderful opportunity to grow your career, is it about a co-worker who is full of bile (they will be noticed and their exit will come with time) or is it a toxic situation without remedy (please note however most cases have a remedy, even if you don’t know what it is yet) that is making you sick to your stomach and giving you ulcers. Ideally if your resignation comes as a result of a new opportunity coming your way, that means financial as well as professional growth.

Reflect on lessons learned at your job and how you will behave in future, how you will use your instincts, or keep good records, or whatever your game plan to improve your workplace situation, or to get yourself into your dream job.


  1. Your transit plan

If your resignation is due to a current crisis situation, ponder hard about where you are going to, what you are going to live on, how you will pay your rent? Do you have a freelance job or a consultancy to cushion your transition? Have you called your trusted friends to find out if there are openings you can get into? It is usually harder to find a job when you are not in one, so do the best you can to find something while in a job. Attend events and network like crazy, tell people what do and that you are open to/seeking new challenges. Find a recruitment consultant to place you into jobs, use linkedIn to scour for others, practice job placement exams in readiness for the interview. Target to send out 20 applications a day, and make time to do them.

Save your income carefully for several months as you plan your exit strategy so that you will have a grace period and resources to seek out another job.


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  1. Prepare for your job interview

Thoroughly. Don’t skimp on this step. Coaches, HR consultants and even a smart friend can help with this. Practice interview questions and your answers. Prepare for an individual interview, panel interview, phone interview under different scenarios. A quick and easy presentation skills and interview preparation tool is available on www.linaconnect.com it is also useful if you have a high profile job in any sector or work in PR, Marketing or Media so that you can handle yourself well when facing the media or the public.


  1. Follow procedures

Have you received your letters of recommendation from the company after your resignation? Are you planning to give 1 month notice or are you choosing to compensate your employer for the month? Decide your game plan and map it out, this will help you get prepared.

Write a brief resignation letter, insert a date, print it and place it somewhere safe in your house. This will get you in the mindset of transition and get you going. Mark it on your calendar and start a countdown. Eg. If you are giving yourself 6 months or 90 days whatever the timelines, plan what activity will happen each month and mark it off on the calendar as it happens, much like a well-planned project. This will keep you motivated to be well prepared for your transition, and to able to hand in your letter when the time comes.


  1. Get your story straight

Tell no one of your plans, a friend at work is still a colleague, and may accidentally spill the beans before you are ready.

Are you telling your ex-employer where you are going (not always a good idea)? You’d rather be ‘returning to school to gain your Masters’ or ‘going into the family business’ as far as they are concerned. Whatever you choose to say, think it through, stay close to the truth and prepare a few speaking notes just in case there is a formal meeting or conversation about your departure.


  1. New job, New attitude

Don’t badmouth your old employer, it never makes you look good. Keep to the terms of the non-disclosure agreement and look and sound professional. “You are seeking growth” or “seeking a new challenge” is better than “My boss was a bitch” no matter how many horrible things she did, or all the evidence you have. I had a friend with a lucrative position in the UN, who walked around with copies of emails, trying to prove to anyone who would listen how bad her boss was. Guess what, it made her sound crazy. People started asking themselves if she was depressed and became a topic of derision. ‘She works for the UN and can dare complain when other people don’t even have jobs’ etc. Never mind that the emails could not be interpreted fully if you were not within her work context. Imagine the time, energy and effort put into it, if she had utilized this to find a new position, she would be way ahead.


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  1. Getting ready for your new job

Audit your wardrobe, what’s missing? Do you need a few accessories? Are your shoes worn out? Go into your new job dressing with the status of your growth and leadership in mind.  www.linaconnect.com is offering brighter Monday readers for a limited time only, free access to ‘Dress Well Everyday’ Online course to help you look the part. Sign up here.

Reflect on your new job, tools needed, short courses you are going to pursue to improve your professional standing. If your old job was traumatic, schedule several counselling sessions to get it out of your system and start healing, or go for Alabastron and talk about it.

Schedule a holiday, even a few days off to lie on the beach under the sun thinking about nothing for a few days. Alternatively go to your rural home for a change in scenery.

Arrange your transport to the office, test how long the trip from home to work would take so that come day of reporting you keep time and start on good footing.

Lina Dyhr
Lina Dyhr is a Media, Marketing Communications and Business Strategy professional with over 10 years experience. She loves travel and adventure despite being challenged in reading maps, is passionate about entrepreneurship and is usually at the right place at the right time for opportunity. Her recent engagements include Fairtrade Africa Communications Manager for 33 countries in Africa and 3 in the Middle East and Marketing Director for Easy Taxi, a taxi hailing app in 420 cities. Lina will be running a free webinar “Before you quit your job” so feel free to register to attend here, and email in your questions in advance so she can research good quality answers for you.
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