You'd think that the act of resigning from a job would be pretty straightforward — just a simple "I'm outta here!" and you're gone. But, of course, that's not how it goes in reality. And in this day and age, there are quite a few details that have to be ironed out before you can walk out that door. Here's a list of things you should take care of if you resign from a job.1. Give notice
Unless you have an employment contract that states otherwise, you should give two weeks' notice. If your employer asks you to stay longer, you are not obligated to do so. The only obligation you have in this respect is that you start your new job when you said you would.2. Have the "conversation"
When you deliver the news to your supervisor, you don't need to say much more than you're leaving. Resist the urge to add "And do you want to know WHY? Because you have made my life a living hell since I've been here." If you are pushed to say more, try to stay positive. Concentrate on the ways the company has benefited you. Don't burn your bridges because, even if it seems unbelievable at the time, there may be some day in the distant future when you will need your ex-boss to do you a favor.3. Write a resignation letter
Even if you resign verbally, write a resignation letter; it can help you maintain a positive relationship with your employer. You may one day need that former employer to give you a reference, so it makes sense to take the time to write a polished and professional resignation letter.4. Ask for a reference
This may not always be possible if your boss is really upset about you leaving. In other words, it may not be the best time to ask for a reference letter if he's throwing tape dispensers at your head. But, if the parting is amicable, then by all means ask for a reference.5. Don't forget the details
You may be entitled to some benefits and other salary upon leaving. Ask about continuing your health insurance coverage through COBRA, collecting unused vacation and sick pay, and keeping, cashing in, or rolling over your 401K or other pension plan.6. Return company property
Return any company property you have, including keys, documents, computers, phones, and anything else that doesn't belong to you.
And now, for a change of pace, here's a video called "How NOT to quit your job."
Get Career Management tips in your inbox
TechRepublic's Career Management newsletter, delivered each Tuesday and Thursday, offers tips for how to find a job and how to cope once you're there. Automatically sign up today!
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.