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Every workplace provides employees with the opportunity to form casual and close relationships with co-workers, and when the time comes to move on to a new career phase, it can be hard to leave those relationships behind. If you've secured a new job and you're preparing to leave your current company, it's essential that you formally say "goodbye" to the people you've worked alongside over years. Telling your co-workers about your resignation is a professional courtesy, and will help keep your reputation intact.
Tell Your Boss First
While it can be tempting to spill the news to your closest co-workers -- especially if you've accepted a particularly stellar job opportunity -- the chances are too high that the information could find it's way back to your boss and reflect poorly on you as a worker. An employer should never hear about an employee's resignation through the grapevine, so avoid telling your co-workers about your plans until you've met with your boss and turned in your notice. After your boss has been informed about your decision to leave, feel free to share the news around the office.
Tell Them in Person
Make an effort to meet with all of the co-workers you feel closest to and tell them in person about your resignation. You could simply approach them at work and tell them the news, or you could arrange a meeting outside of work -- a dinner party, for example -- and make the announcement to a group of co-workers at the same time. If you're worried about staying in touch, this also presents an ideal opportunity to exchange phone numbers or other contact information so you can stay close after your time at the company is up. Your co-workers will appreciate that you took the time to tell them, and the gesture will help secure a positive relationship in the future should you ever work together again.
Keep it Simple
There's no need to divulge all of the details about your resignation to everyone in the office, and it's perfectly fine to keep your conversation short and simple when breaking the news to distant colleagues. Simply tell co-workers that you'll be leaving, and let them know that you appreciated the chance to work with them at your current place of employment. As with close co-workers, this will pave the way toward a positive professional relationship if your career paths ever cross again.
Even if you've suffered from workplace unhappiness for years, it's not okay to turn the conversation about your resignation into an opportunity to speak ill about your boss, your co-workers or any other element of your job. Not only does it look unprofessional on your behalf, but this is a sure-fire way to burn bridges with your employer if word gets back to him. You could lose a positive recommendation from your employer, or you could even be terminated before your length of notice expires.