Always plan a strategic resignation, just in case

Before you hand in your notice, make sure that you have planned a strategic resignation. You never know how they are going to take it. 

Many people don’t realise that the minute they hand in their letter of resignation, many organisations may ask them to leave immediately. This can be regardless of their contractual notice period. Donna told us “I worked in business development and was leaving to move not to a competitor, but a company working in the same sector. Even though I should have given one months’ notice, I was asked to clear my desk within the hour. I was escorted off the premises by security, which was actually quite upsetting. I barely had time to say goodbye to colleagues. It all took me by surprise and I wasn’t prepared.”

Within an hour, Donna had surrendered her cell phone, laptop and company car. She was able to pack up her desk and personal items, but was not given the opportunity to access her address book and contact list, which were stored on her company lap top and phone. However, she was not due to start her new job for another month. Therefore she had to make rapid provision for car hire and health insurance. All of this was at an additional cost that she hadn’t factored into her negotiations for her new role.

Key information

She had also left behind personal information on her computer which she had used (as many of us do) to process non-professional business. This included:

  • Personal documents
  • Saved passwords to social media sites
  • Performance appraisals
  • Significant presentations
  • Email addresses of friends and useful network contacts
  • Software programmes that she used personally
  • Her browsing history

Bailey told us “I inherited someone’s phone and telephone number and could see there was all sorts of information left on there, including take-out restaurant numbers. There was even a dating site which hadn’t been wiped off! I kept getting calls from his girlfriends! IT had not been vigilant!”   

Changing jobs is a big move. Prepare for the various aspects with our Returner Roll-Up Session to Create a Plan for your Online Job Search.

Prepare with a strategic resignation

Donna’s advice to anyone intending to hand in their resignation is to be strategic.

  • Keep a start date flexible in the new role in case you are walked to the door and can take on the new job earlier than anticipated.
  • Save key files and data whether on a phone or laptop that will be helpful in your new job or going forward. It could be presentations you have made, performance appraisals, conferences you like to attend and so on. This does not mean stealing company IP. That can get you into hot water.
  • Save all personal records and then delete them from the company devices.
  • Delete all passwords to social media or personal accounts. This is especially important for anything involving credit cards, such as airlines or other vendors associated with your business activity. Many of us book our own tickets and submit an expense claim afterwards.
  • Delete all browsing history and personal apps. If you don’t know how to then Google will help you.
  • Delete personal texts and What’s App messages, photos, videos etc. from all devices.

Marilyn recounted how during her notice period when she was not required to work, she had an accident requiring dental surgery. “It was all eventually resolved, but my old company tried to wriggle out of their obligations. I had to see a lawyer to send in letters and I was thousands of dollars out of pocket until the insurance finally paid. It’s not the kind of stress you need as you are about to start a new job.”

Avoid a panic

If possible, take all sensible precautions to avoid a last-minute panic. Assume you might be required to leave immediately and have a goodbye email ready in drafts to send to your colleagues and contacts before you leave the building. Give them a personal email address to stay in touch with you. Many will see your change of status on LinkedIn, which offers another way to reach out to your network.

It always makes sense to orchestrate a smooth transition. Leave your devices and desk in pristine condition. You never know when your path with old bosses and colleagues will cross again. The world is smaller than you think.


A mentor can help you deal with issues that they have seen and experienced before. Find out more about our wide range of Mentoring Services HERE.

Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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