Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How to Leave Your Job with Grace

breakup heartAt some point, you will move on from your current position. Whether your departure is precipitated by a job offer or is made for other reasons, it is important that you leave your current position in the most professional, courteous way possible. Below are some tips for resigning with grace, culled from an article in the Job Employment Guide.

  1. Think carefully about your decision. Before resigning, you need to be sure that you are making the most appropriate move for you, your career, your family, your financial situation, etc.
  2. Try not to feel guilty about your decision. Resignations happen every day, all the time, across every occupation. In the end, you need to do what is best for you.
  3. Be sure to give appropriate notice. Two weeks is the minimum notice that most professionals give, but you may want to think through projects you’d like to complete, students you intend to train, and give as much time as you can within reason, taking both your personal timeline and your PI’s situation/workload into account.
  4. Be ready to leave. Before you submit a resignation letter and/or have a conversation with your PI, wrap up projects, anticipate questions about how your exit will impact the lab, etc.
  5. Draft your letter. Your resignation letter should be short, to the point, and positive. Include your planned last date of employment, but be ready to negotiate this if your PI asks you to stay longer. You need not be specific about your reason for leaving, but can simply state that you are moving on for a new opportunity. Finally, highlight what skills and experiences you have gained during your time in the lab, and thank the PI for the opportunity to work with him/her.
  6. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally before resigning. Have your letter ready, but more importantly, keep your cool during your resignation discussion. Your PI may be surprised, disappointed, or even angry about your news. Try not to take his/her reaction personally, and stay composed throughout the meeting.
  7. Work hard through your last day in the lab. Finish all that you promised to finish before your departure.
  8. Keep in touch. Once you are settled in your new situation, whether that be at home with your children, in a new lab, or traveling to another country, send along an email and phone or address to keep in touch.

Don’t burn your bridges! End your time with your PI on a positive note. You never know when your paths may cross again, as the scientific community is smaller than you think. Bon voyage!

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