Here’s Exactly How To Resign When You Haven’t Seen Your Boss In Months

It doesn't have to be an awkward conversation.


Megan Flemmit |

Since COVID-19 spread across the globe, our lives have been disrupted. For months South Africans followed strict, but necessary lockdown protocols. Gyms and restaurants closed. Desk-bound employees started working from home, all in efforts to curb the spread of this virus. As the lockdown rules ease up slightly on 1 June, many companies will slowly take their operations back to office buildings, while many will not.

But even in the midst of a pandemic, while many have lost their jobs as businesses fold, there are those who are finding new opportunities or who simply just need a break to be able to mentally deal with living during these uncertain times.

Related: 11 Questions About The Coronavirus And Your Mental Health, Answered By A Psychologist

But if you haven’t seen your boss in months, it could be a tough conversation to initiate. We spoke to some experts to help you transition into your new role without tarnishing your reputation.

The Best Way To Resign

Although you’re unable to set up a meeting to inform you line manager in person, the best way to do it is by setting up a video call, says Devan Moonsamy, CEO of The ICHAF Training Institute. “This is the best method, because it allows you to keep that level of respect and authenticity in the news you will be offering,” he explains.

Management Coach and Mentor for Intelligent Debt Management (IDM), Roger Mulholland, agrees. “Looking them right in the eye while having the chat shows courage. It shows there’s no funny stuff going on.” By talking face to face you’re able to have an open and honest conversation about why you want to leave. “Follow up the video call with a mail. That will always leave a good impression, even when the relationship with your boss wasn’t great,” explains Roger.

Related: I’ve Been Working From Home For 11 Years. This Is What I’ve Learnt.

What To Say When You Resign

What you say during the chat is the most important part. Saying the right thing will mean you leave on a good note, while the wrong thing can put a stain on your name. “I’m a big proponent of the idea that people are brands,” says Roger. “You want to leave with grace, so that if things don’t work out you can always come back.”

“The best way to approach it is to be forthright and honest from the get-go,” explains Devan. “Inform your line manager by saying, “I would like to formally and informally discuss and submit my resignation.”

You can then expand on this by explaining why you’re leaving. “Tell your boss you have a new opportunity for your growth and development. End off the conversation by thanking them for the opportunities you received while working there, even if it wasn’t the best experience,” adds Roger. “The essence here is that you don’t want to burn bridges.”

Related: 12 Office Essentials To Make Working From Home A Cinch

What To Keep In Mind

Before resigning Roger suggests you ensure that the business you’re going to is sustainable from a business perspective. “Sometimes people are in a rush to leave, and we see them make terrible decisions.” If the business closes down after you start, you’ll be left looking for another job.

While you’re thinking over your decision to leave, be cautious about what you say about the company on social media. “Organisations monitor what you say. And when you say something bad you’re defaming the name of the company. People get fired for that.”

Once you have informed your boss about your decision to leave, make sure you work out your notice period, if possible. This enables you to handover your duties to someone else. It also ensures you remain in the company’s good books. “It is imperative to maintain a solid bridge that you must maintain in case you would like to return to the company for any reason.”

Related: Relieve Stress During Lockdown With This 60-Minute At-Home Yoga Class

Resigning With Immediate Effect

Of course, there are reasons why you want to resign immediately. You might need to take care of someone full-time or you’re struggling to juggle the mental load of living through a pandemic, while working. In cases like these it is possible to resign with immediate effect. “It’s always best to have a frank conversation with your boss. We’ve had cases where people need to leave immediately and then we work out what’s the best way forward,” explains Roger. “If you’ve had a trusting relationship with your boss this shouldn’t tarnish your name.”

“It must be noted that the employer will however deduct leave days or any other statuary monies in order to accommodate for the notice period, should the employee resign with immediate effect,” adds Devan. Keep this in mind if you’re considering leaving the company immediately.

At the end of the day as long as you’re open and honest about why you’re leaving, resigning shouldn’t be difficult to do during this time.

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