How not to resign your job

In Summary
  • Resignation does not always go well and as much fun as a spectacular exit may appear from the outside, it can sometimes backfire.
  • If you do bother printing out your resignation letter, make sure that there are no extra copies hanging around in the printer. 

I recently resigned from my job (obviously not this one) for reasons which, dear reader, are none of your business for the time being.

The point of that opening line, true as it may be, is to say that if you are like me, then you surely must enjoy stories of people who quit their job in an epic and newsworthy fashion.

My resignation was accepted and as far as I am concerned my now former employers and I are on good terms. 

The media industry is very small and it does not help to burn bridges as you never know where you’ll bump into each other again or under what circumstances. 

Resignation does not always go well and as much fun as a spectacular exit may appear from the outside, it can sometimes backfire.

Speaking of which, some of you readers may know that I was one of the founding staff members of this newspaper.

What you do not know is that during the formative period of this very newspaper, in fact shortly before it hit the streets, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to quit after a particularly rough day.

I was feeling as though I wasn’t good enough and felt it was better to leave with my tail between my legs to fight another day, than to let the rest of the team down.

That evening before I left the office, I carefully composed my resignation letter, printed it out and put it in my top drawer ready to deliver to my bosses with a heavy heart the next morning.

Little did I know that in my rush to get the letter printed, I seemed to have pressed the print icon twice. 

Nevertheless, when I went to the printer to retrieve the letter, I found only one sheet of paper and after putting it away, I left the office none the wiser.

Little did I know the second sheet hadn’t printed because the printer was out of paper. Having no idea of this I carried on in the knowledge that I was the only one who knew I’d be resigning the next morning.

After I left, my boss, who was also in the office that evening, had some documents he was printing and when he went to the printer realised it was out of paper and put in some more.

When the machine resumed the print job, the very first document out was my resignation letter.

I never really found out whether my boss was shocked, or annoyed by my resignation, all I know is that he consulted my line managers about it and a decision was made to encourage me to stay on.

Of course, as I arrived at work the next morning full of resolve to resign and serve out my notice, I had no clue about all of this.

It wasn’t until my editor, who had poached me from our joint previous employer, mentioned it casually and said it would not be accepted, that I found out what had happened.

My drama was resolved and that was the end of the matter. I then stayed on for another five years before I resigned for a second time, but this time only because I was emigrating.

Clearly, our relationship was good as I am still writing for them, and long may it be so.

However, the lesson in all this is if you do bother printing out your resignation letter, always make sure that there are no extra copies of your resignation hanging around in the printer. 

You might not be as lucky as I was.

Obviously these days there are those who quit via WhatsApp text or voice note and there have always been those who quit without saying or writing anything and just go absent without leave. 

My favourite resignation has to be by the man who quit his job at a British airport to follow his passion and become a baker with his own outlet.

As the Guardian newspaper wrote at the time: “He handed in his resignation on a cake, beautifully piped in neat black letters on a flawless page of white royal icing.”

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