What Is the Best Way to Quit Your Job?
Maybe you just started this job and now you realize it’s a bad fit for you…or maybe you work in a small company and you’re team might suffer with being understaffed when you leave… or maybe you’d like to go back to school full time. Regardless of why you’re leaving, it’s very important to leave on good terms, without burning any bridges.
But before you make your exit, take some time to really think about why you’re planning to quit. Sometimes an amazing offer falls in your lap and you simply can’t refuse. But if you’re leaving for more money, more time off, a better boss, etc., you may want to be sure you’re not trading one set of problems for another in the new job. Be sure you’re running “toward” something and not “away” from something before you make a final decision. And, of course, it’s always best to have an offer in hand before you leave your current position.
The right way to resign is to leave with your dignity intact and feeling confident that you can ask your soon-to-be former boss or co-workers for a recommendation if you need it.
Keep it Classy
- Tell your boss first. Before you tell any co-workers or post anything on social media, you should tell your boss in person that you’re leaving. You don’t want him/her to hear about it through the grapevine. Keep the conversation positive and concise. No need to share a lot of details about the new job or talk about all the things you find wrong with your current job.
- Put your resignation in writing. Even if it doesn’t seem like you need to write a letter, do it. Keep it short and sweet and include the date of your last day. It’s appropriate to thank them for the opportunity, and you don’t need to explain why you’re leaving or where you’re going.
- By all means, give at least 2 weeks’ notice. Unless you’re under contract to do otherwise, you should give your employer some time to find your replacement and make sure they’re trained to pick up where you left off.
- Offer to help train your replacement and make the transition go smoothly until you leave. Don’t slack off – be sure you end on a positive note and give it your best until the very end.
- Ask for a reference. Before you leave, you might consider asking for a letter of reference from your boss. Sometimes it’s good to have a letter in hand or a recommendation that you can share with future, prospective employers.
- Clear all your personal items from your station or desk. If you have personal files on the computer, make copies and remove them. If your boss asks you to leave immediately, you’ll be prepared.
- Make sure you know ahead of time what your “termination benefits” are. Are you entitled to any vacation pay or benefits?
- Be sure to return any company property, including any keys, paperwork, etc. that doesn’t belong to you.
- Don’t forget to thank all those who’ve been most helpful to you and say good-bye. It’s polite and you’ll want to keep in touch with some of your co-workers. It’s a small world and you may end up working together again in the future.
If you’ve worked somewhere for a long time and/or you work for a smaller company, you might feel you’re leaving your boss and co-workers in the lurch when you leave. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way. However, this is a business decision, it’s not personal.
Even if you’re relatively new at this job and you suddenly realize this is a bad fit for you, there may not be anything your boss can do to remedy the situation. Remember that you are not “irreplaceable.” The company will survive and it’s best for everyone if you move on.
Quitting your job isn’t pleasant, but once you’ve made the decision to leave, it’s time to look forward to growing and taking on new challenges. As long as you’re positive, responsible and resign with dignity, you’ll demonstrate that you are someone of value and not burn bridges when you move on.