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

Letter of Resignation

Dear Sue: I am anticipating a job offer this week, and am about to resign from a position that I have been very successful at for the past 5 1/2 years. I want to be fair to my current employer, but I don't know that I will be able to give more than 2 weeks notice. I also am concerned about the proper way to write my resignation letter. I don't want to close any doors behind me, and I have always believed that I should leave like a lady. Can you give me any tips on writing that letter? 

- Lynne

Sue Says: If you have a good relationship with your employer, it would be nice to tell him/her in person and use the letter as documentation.

The letter should be brief and to the point. State the reason for the letter (notification that you will are resigning), and the date you will be leaving.

Because of your desire to leave on good terms, feel free to add a statement that lets your employer know you have enjoyed working there and appreciate the experience, but are pursuing other career opportunities at this time. There is no need to include detailed apologies or explanations for your departure.

I understand  your desire to leave on good terms, but realize that there always is a chance that your employer will be upset by your departure. Just do what you can to leave on a positive note, but don't take it personally if things don't work out as you planned.

Dear Sue: I work with a lackadaisical, pessimistic yet knowledgeable older guy who has been with the company for thirty years. He resists change, and between cigarette breaks and talking on the phone with his friends, he does what he pleases. He is moody, jealous and totally disorganized. He leads management on and takes advantage of almost everyone. I could go on and on about him.

The question I have is whether I should look for another job or stick it out until he retires. I have a good chance of getting his job once he retires, which will be in about five years. My boss agrees with me on this issue and has even asked me what we should do to try to change his ways.

I can't figure out why the boss doesn't do anything about this and am wondering what I should do. 

- Joseph

Sue Says: For starters, try to figure out why you are expending so much of your energy on this man, and why it concerns you so much. I am sure this person can be irritating to work with, but it sounds to me as though you are allowing him to affect you and your job performance. Don't give him that much power over you.

If his ways were more than just irritating and really causing trouble for your manager, I suspect that he would do something about it. Hanging on to your job, waiting for him to retire could lead to disappointment for you -- what if he chooses not to retire in five years as planned?

I doubt that you will be able to change the ways of someone who has been with the company 30 years, so work on changing the only thing you can -- your behavior and your reaction this person. Take your focus off of him and put it back on doing your job well and being a positive role model everyone you work with. Leaving is only a temporary solution, because no matter where you work you are bound to encounter people who will irritate you for one reason or another.

Dear Sue: I am qualified for a management position that is currently available in the company I work for, but I have reason to believe that the divisional manager who is in charge of this position doesn't care for me. However, I am the only one at this time who is qualified for the position.

I am wondering if you can give me any ideas on how to deal with this situation.

- Qualified

Sue Says: Don't assume anything. Apply for the job and see if things run the normal course. If you sense there is a personality conflict it may help to address it directly and try to resolve it. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge sensitive issues and move on, rather than pretend that the tension doesn't exist. I wish you luck.

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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