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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

How to Resign from a Job

Dear Sue: I am going to be leaving my company soon and am trying to figure out how to say good bye. In the past when people have left they’ve sent out emails notifying fellow employees of their resignation. I really need help in deciding how to say good bye. Is there a standard procedure or letter? How do I determine the best way to announce my departure?

- Jennifer

Sue Says: The circumstances for your departure probably will influence the way in which you say good bye. You didn’t state the reason you are leaving or whether you are leaving on your own volition. Regardless of the reason, there is no need to go into too much detail or express lots of emotion. Until the moment you walk away and out the door for the last time, you are expected to work and behave in a professional manner. You may be “out of there” emotionally, but physically you are still present and you need to fulfill your obligations and do your work. Some people develop a “who cares” attitude their last few days, with the assumption that they will never see any of their coworkers again. As large as the business world may seem, it is smaller than you might think, and likely that your path will cross with some of your former coworkers in the future.

If you are thinking of doing something unique, go right ahead, but it appears as though there is somewhat of a standard already in place in your company; you’ve received farewell letters from former coworkers, so why don’t you do something similar to what others have done? If you still are unsure, consider asking someone you work with what the preferred protocol is in your company.

I admire you for asking the question, because your last day on the job is important – much like your first day on the job. Your reputation will follow you and the last thing you want to do is to leave a negative impression behind.

Dear Sue: I left my job about nine months ago for one that was more flexible. I also left a lot of great people, and a group of us have continued to meet for lunch every few weeks. I see the people I care to see, and am not as interested in everyone else as they think I am. Our lunches have turned into news reports about everything and everyone at my old company. I don’t want to appear disinterested, but I don’t care to focus solely on the place I left behind. I’d like to continue to see my friends, but am not sure how much longer I can put up with their conversation. What should I do?

– Losing interest

Sue Says: The relationships we have through work often differ from other types of relationships. The common bond is work, so it is natural for the discussion to revolve around the workplace and the people in it. Some friendships grow beyond the workplace, but many do not. You need to evaluate where these people fit into your life and what the friendship is based on. If there is more to your connection than work, you should be able to say something to them or lead the conversation in a different direction. However, you may realize that all you really share is what you had when you worked together. The solution may be as simple as meeting less often or meeting individually with the people you care to see.

Dear Sue: I am planning on resigning from my position and am not sure who to submit my letter of resignation to – should I turn it in to my boss or head of the company?

- Judy

Sue Says: I do not know the policy in your company, but if I were you I would start with your boss. I am sure that if he isn’t the right person that he will see to it that the information gets into the right hands.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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