How To Quit Your Job – Without Burning Your Bridges
If you’re anything like the average person, you’ll change jobs 10 to 15 times throughout your working life. Sometimes, you’ll move on because you’ve achieved all you can and the time is right. Other times, you may feel overworked and underappreciated. Whatever your motivations, learning to quit your job with professionalism and decorum is a skill, and one that should not be underestimated. How you part terms with your employer could have a lasting impact on your career moving forward. Not only will you likely need a reference from your employer, you never know when your paths will cross again, or the influence they could have on your future success through word-of-mouth. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at how to quit your job the right way.
1. Tell your manager first (not your co-workers)
While it might seem easier to simply hand in your written notice, it’s always best to let your manager know you intend to leave in a face-to-face conversation, or if you’re a remote worker, over the phone. From there, they will determine the best course of action for how to proceed at work, and they can also start planning how your remaining time with the company is best spent. If you’re friends with your co-workers, it’s of course going to be tempting to let them in on your secret first, but this is best avoided. If management gets wind of your plans before you officially inform them, it will reflect poorly on you.
2. Write a professional note of resignation
Your next step should be formally handing in your written notice, which could be an email or a typed letter. If you’re moving on to a new role, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve received a formal offer before you do this. Your notice should include the following information:
· Your name and job title
· Your intention to resign from your role
· Your notice period and final date of employment
Aside from this, it’s a nice touch to include a thank you to your employer for the opportunity and for their support. Depending on your circumstances, you may also wish to briefly outline your reasons for leaving – though this is likely something you’ll delve into during your exit interview.
3. Consider how you’ll handle a counteroffer scenario
Your organisation might not want to let you go without a fight, and may present you with a counteroffer to tempt you to stay. When weighing things up, it’s definitely worth bearing in mind that 50% of employees who accept a counteroffer end up leaving within a year anyway. Consider the reasons you wanted to leave in the first place, and whether all or any of those issues have been resolved. Once you know how you’d handle such a scenario, be sure to communicate your decision firmly and with tact.
4. Prepare for your exit interview
Before you leave, most companies will want you to have an exit interview with their HR department. The purpose of this is to understand why team members are leaving, so that improvements to employee wellbeing can be made in the future. For this reason, it’s good to be honest about your motivations – to a point. Let’s face it, leaving a job can be an emotional time, and you may have reasons for leaving that aren’t always positive. Perhaps you clashed with a team member, or you’re sick of your boss’s poor communication. If that’s the case, complaining about it endlessly during your exit interview isn’t going to do you any favours, and could well mean you part ways with your organisation on a sour note. Therefore, try to set your personal feelings aside and resist the temptation to offload. Talk facts, not opinions – remember, you may well need a reference from your organisation later, and the more co-operative you are, the more likely they are to speak highly of you and not just confirm your dates of employment!
5. Prepare a thorough handover, or train up your replacement
Depending on the length of your notice period and how hard your position is to fill, your company may ask your replacement to start work a couple of weeks before you leave so you can get them up to speed. If you’ve been experiencing frustrations with your role, you may be tempted to have a grumble to the new hire, but resist – it won’t reflect well on you. If there’s no time for you to train up your replacement, you might instead be asked to create a handover document that explains the work you do, what needs to be done when, and the systems and processes you use. You should endeavour to make this as thorough and easy to understand as possible.
6. Work hard until you leave
Tempting as it may be, now’s not the time to take your foot off the gas and start slacking. Remaining professional and working hard until you leave will make the transition as pain-free as possible for your employer and for your replacement. It’s also a great way to ensure you part with the company on good terms, and that your manager is thankful for your efforts.
7. Express gratitude
Leaving your role is a great opportunity to express thanks to your employer for the opportunities you’ve been given, the guidance you’ve received, and the good times you’ve enjoyed. Even if you’re no longer happy in your role, it’s time to dig deep – after all, every experience teaches us something!
Ultimately, while finding a new role means looking forward to a new beginning, it’s critical to use your remaining time at work to formalise your resignation, tie up any lose ends, prepare for a seamless transition, and give thanks to those who’ve contributed to your career success journey. That way, you’ll be able to leave with your head held high, knowing you’ve secured your reputation as a professional to the end.
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