The Perfect Resignation Letter
My column readers are often the very best source of ideas for the articles I pursue. This week a professional recruiter from the Seattle area, Fancy Frenchwood, sent this response to my article Is There Any Place For Profanity In the Workplace?
She said, “Well, I did it! I came up with a thoughtful and articulate statement to share with my boss. Resignation=”%$*% off!” Wow, that felt great!”
She offered to send it to me. Here it is. While Frenchwood gave us permission to run the piece in its original format, at Forbes' recommendation, I have redacted the names of the specific individuals and company involved.
After careful thought and consideration I have concluded that my core values are not aligned with the dysfunctional organizational culture at [redacted]. It is time to move on to maintain my health, sanity, and overall happiness.
This letter is to officially inform you that I resign from my position as Senior Recruiter, effective immediately. This letter also serves as my exit interview.
During my fourth and final interview for the position, [redacted], VP of HR, asked me what I needed to be successful. I replied, “clear direction and strong leadership.”
I received neither.
Originally, I believed the biggest challenge at [redacted] would stem from a lack of systems. However, I quickly realized that inflated egos, office politics and administrative incompetence would prove to be bigger obstacles. These dynamics are not conducive to innovation and productivity.
Due to ambiguous policies and procedures and the inconsistent application and enforcement of both, I was deprived of fair and equitable treatment. I did not receive fair pay for the work I was held accountable for, even after three requests for reevaluation of the job title and description against what was actually required out of the position. Additionally, I have been reprimanded for fabricated, unsubstantiated claims regarding my performance and behavior. I hardly think that a statement from one person constitutes a fair and thorough investigation.
Fortunately for me, I know my worth and I am very well aware of the value I bring to a team. I refuse to settle for any form of disrespect or maltreatment, particularly from individuals whose only credibility resides in their job title as opposed to demonstrated excellence and leadership.
I’m positive my experience isn’t an isolated one. The turnover rates and lack of employee engagement and satisfaction are further evidence of [redacted]’s inability to attract, develop and retain talent.
I had a goal to brand [redacted] as an employer of choice in our community. Unfortunately, it became abundantly clear to me that I would be out of integrity to attempt to attract employees to such a toxic and dysfunctional work place. I refuse to convince professionals to work for a 50 year old company that operates like a start-up “mom-n-pop shop” rampant with nepotism and cronyism.
I could share more for the purposes of an “exit interview” but I have little faith that information gathered would be compiled to formulate a retention strategy.
I am returning my company credit card, fob, Verizon “MiFi” and office key with this letter.
Boy, did she tell them! My first reaction was this: while I could tell that the letter – and even the process of writing the letter – was highly therapeutic, if the company had not welcomed Frenchwood's feedback during her employment, they would be unlikely to welcome it now. Would sending a letter like this simply spur antagonistic feelings that would lead them to provide an unfavorable reference? Would it have been most productive to write the letter as an act of closure and therapy and then to resign quietly and simply throw the letter away?
Said Frenchwood: “Fortunately, I had landed a couple of contracts as a freelance recruiter and I had also interviewed and received an offer from another company. They didn't ask for references. If they would have, I would have given them a list of peers that I worked with.”
“My situation is very different than most, however, I agree that one should keep the reference check in mind.”
Good for her. She sent the letter to her immediate boss (the AVP of HR) to the business partner of HR who conducts exit interviews, and to the CEO.
The result? Immediately afterward a trusted associate within the company called on the phone and agreed with everything she had said. “It needed to be said,” he concluded.
What’s the perfect resignation letter? The answer depends on the culture of the business you’re leaving. Always, remember the future ramifications of references, background checks, and the future costs of any bridges you burn.
In this instance, Frenchwood acknowledges her case is probably not the norm, but she played her cards perfectly.
In summary, when writing a resignation letter, after expressing your most articulate and insightful thoughts, perhaps the best strategy is to pause and think for a moment (if not overnight). If the best purpose of the initial draft is therapy; you can file the letter or throw it away.
The perfect resignation letter, in every case, will be the one that weighs the benefits against the potential repercussions before you press “send.”
What are your opinions? Your own experiences? As always, I welcome your thoughts.
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This story was originally published at www.forbes.com. Information about Cheryl Snapp Conner’s Content University program to help businesses and executives tell their stories better is available here.