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Boris Johnson Quits: The Dos And Don’ts Of Resigning The Right Way

boris johnson

After more than 50 MPs quit their government and party posts, Boris Johnson has resigned as Tory leader.

A No 10 source said Johnson spoke to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee, to inform him of his decision.

He will remain as Prime Minister until a successor is in place, thought to be by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October.

Boris Johnson
The decision follows an exodus of MPs from their positions (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

While the rest of us don’t have quite as high profile a job as Johnson, many will still have to hand in our resignation at some point in our careers.

“Resigning is rarely a stress-free experience, especially in times of economic uncertainty,” says Charlotte Davies, career expert at LinkedIn. “Leaving your workplace with dignity and your head held high is important for all of us, so how you resign is crucial and can make all the difference.”

Here are some key dos and don’ts for handing in your resignation.

Do… Recognise when it’s time to leave

“Sometimes, even if you don’t necessarily want to resign, it’s important to recognise when it’s time, rather than waiting to be asked to leave or simply becoming stagnant in your role,” says Davies.

“It’s a simple fact that employers and people change constantly, and as these changes happen, it’s key that you evolve too.

Think about what’s best for you and your future, and if it means making the hard decision to leave your job and find a new one, then go for it! You never know what could happen with your next move.”

Don’t… Hide your reasons for leaving

There are plenty of different reasons why you might want to leave a role, and Davies says it’s in everyone’s interest to be honest about it.

“For you, it will feel freeing to get your reasoning off your chest following the inevitable weighing up of the pros and cons.

For employers, they will value your honesty, whether it’s simply an irresistible opportunity for personal growth that’s come along, or something they haven’t quite done right to keep you happy – as it could inspire some change to prevent others leaving for the same reason.”

With this in mind, she recommends taking advantage of your exit interview (or a chat with your boss before leaving). Use it as an opportunity to be open and honest about your experiences – while also being firm with your decision.

This can “help avoid any further conversations around counter offers, which only prolongs the process and has the potential to become awkward,” she adds.

Do… Communicate with the right person

Life Coach Directory member Abi Unwin stresses the importance of handing in your notice to the right person. “Whether that’s a line manager or more senior manager, make sure you find out who the appropriate person is to give your letter of resignation to, and mark it private and confidential.

“You want to ensure this information is not shared with anyone else, until you feel ready to tell your colleagues and the wider team, so you remain in control of communication. This can help with reducing anxiety around the process in initial stages.”

Don’t… Rush your resignation letter

When you’ve made the decision to leave your role, it can be easy to want to get things done as quickly as possible.

However, when submitting a resignation letter, Unwin says: “Take some time to write out a first draft, then leave it a couple of days before re-reading – are there any changes you’d like to make before you go ahead?

“By doing this you avoid making any hasty comments, as it can be an emotional time when you leave a job and you want to avoid burning bridges.”

Resignation letter
You might want to take your time to perfect your resignation letter (Alamy/PA)

Do… Leave on a positive note

Speaking of burning bridges, Davies says: “Even if you’re completely changing careers, it’s a small world, so you never know when you might come across your current employer or colleagues again.”

So even though there’s probably a reason you’re quitting, she adds: “It always helps to leave on a positive note. When you resign, make sure to express your appreciation for the opportunities you were given, the experiences you had, or the relationships you built in the role.”

Unwin agrees, and recommends including some positive comments in the resignation letter, as to what you enjoyed about the role/organisation/people you worked with – “This ensures that you keep contacts open for future communication and leave on a good note.”

Life Office GIF by Christina Lu - Find & Share on GIPHY

Don’t… Switch off the second you’ve resigned

It’s tempting to slack off as you see out your notice period, but Davies says: “This mentality can put the relationships you’ve built with your colleagues at risk, and might mean you’re remembered in a negative light.

“Always make sure to keep positive, keep working, and execute a smooth transition for your team members so that everything is in a good place for when you’ve gone – it’ll make all the difference in being remembered positively once you’ve left.”