ABC’s of Hiring #34 – How to Overcome the Fear of Resigning

For employees, giving notice is often the one thing they fear most. It is a stressful and uncomfortable exchange with your boss. The fear of giving notice alone can prevent individuals from making the career switch that they already accepted. Here’s how to avoid mishaps and make the process straightforward.

Br Prepared

Once you have accepted a new offer of employment, you must plan your transition. Write down the exact words you will use and show your commitment to your new employer. Never accept an offer unless you are going to honor it. Never try to use an offer as leverage to receive a counteroffer from your current employer. In a separate ABC’s of Hiring # 15 Beware the Dangers of Counteroffers, we address the risks associated with accepting a counteroffer to stay.

What Do You Say?

You should always prepare a written letter of resignation and provide it to your boss at the beginning of a meeting that you have scheduled specifically for this purpose. Your choice of words is important, so don’t wing it. You want your message to be very clear.

Dear (Boss),

Please accept this letter as my official notice of resignation. I appreciate the work that we have accomplished together, but I have now made a commitment to another organization and will begin work for them in two weeks.

It is my intention to work with you to make this transition as smooth as possible. I am eager to leave on the most positive note possible.


There is no reason to say “thank you” or “I’m sorry” at this point in your career. Do not recite a list of grievances which will only fuel debate. The focus should be on the transition not about your decision to leave which should be acknowledged and respected.

When Is The Best Time?

The best time is always as soon possible after the written offer is accepted. Ideally, you would schedule the meeting for a Monday or Tuesday afternoon at 4 PM. That way you won’t have to spend the rest of the day answering questions about why you are leaving and where are you going. Also, early in the week, your boss is likely very busy and can’t focus solely on a counteroffer as they would if they had the entire weekend to think about it.

Should You Tell Them Where You Are Going?

You are not obligated to tell your current employer where you are going. You can deflect any questions in that regard by saying:

“I know you may be curious about where I am going and why, but my decision is made, and I have made a commitment to another organization that I plan to keep. If it’s really important for you to know, then let’s talk about it another time when it is not an emotional time for both of us. Today, my focus is on doing what I can during the transition.”


The purpose of the resignation meeting is to inform your employer about your decision to leave, provide two weeks’ notice and leave on a positive note through a carefully planned transition. You don’t want to burn any bridges. Their problems are no longer your problems. Focus on your future, not your past.

Bob Harrington Associates has been in the executive search business for over since 1994 and can help you find the best people for your business.


Best Regards,


Bob Harrington CPC
Bob Harrington Associates


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