Breaking up is hard to do, and that saying is equally true when it applies to leaving your job. Quitting can feel just like giving an awkward break-up speech. It can be hard to figure out how to quit your job without leaving a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. It’s crucial to learn how to part ways gracefully because the average person will switch jobs 10 to 15 times during their lifetime. These tips will help you leave your job without causing any long-term damage to your bottom line or reputation.
Make Sure Quitting Your Job is the Right Decision
If you’re not happy with your current job, it can be tempting to take the first offer just to get out of there. But that might be a mistake. Look at the big picture. Will this be good for you in 10 years, or is it a hasty decision you’re making? If it’s not a stepping stone to where you want your career to eventually end up, you should keep searching and stick with your current job until you find a better option that aligns with your future goals.
In addition to your salary and future growth potential, make sure you look at the complete package your new company is offering, including vacation time, as well as health and 401k benefits.
Have Another Job Lined Up
Don’t jump out of that plane without a working parachute strapped to your back. When you hate your job and feel like you could be doing better, you might think it’s a good idea to light a fire under your feet by quitting and forcing yourself to find a new situation.
While you might be lucky enough to land a job within a month, it’s more likely it will take several months to secure one. That’s why you should already have a new job lined up – things could go desperately wrong in your job hunt and you could end up taking a worse job out of desperation.
Have Some Savings Stockpiled
It’s a great idea to have an emergency fund ready to go in case your new job doesn’t work out. You never know if you’re getting into a better or a worse situation when you switch jobs. And you can also never be certain the company won’t have big layoffs shortly after hiring. While that’s an unlikely scenario, it’s happened to many workers.
When you’re planning how to quit your job, you should try to have a few months of expenses set aside if you can. A fallback fund will help you sleep better at night.
Tell Your Boss Face to Face
After you’ve weighed your options and have decided leaving your current job really is in your best interest, it’s time to let your boss know. This might be the most uncomfortable experience you have while changing jobs, especially if you’re close to your boss.
This isn’t the time to send an email five minutes before you’re scheduled to leave work on a Friday afternoon. While that thought might be appealing so you don’t have to face the fallout in person, it’s best to be a grown-up about it.
You should tell your boss in person by explaining you feel a change is in your best interest, and say you’ll help the company prepare for your absence in any way possible. It’s a good idea to have a letter of resignation already typed and printed so you can hand that to your boss as well. Some companies require a written notification.
Give Two Weeks Notice or More
Two weeks is the bare minimum you should give your company before you exit the building for the final time. If you’re in a highly-trained or crucial position, you should give more notice that.
Offering plenty of notice is the calling card of a true professional.
If your new position doesn’t allow you to give more of a notice because your job begins in two weeks, let your old boss know you’ll be happy to answer any questions in emails or over the phone. Being a team player even when you’re leaving is a good idea and will be appreciated by everyone at your old workplace.
Let Your Coworkers Know
When figuring out how to quit your job, don’t forget the people who’ve worked in the trenches alongside you.
Some companies aren’t great at letting people know when one of their employees plans to leave the fold. One day, you see your colleague at their desk and, the next, there’s an empty chair where they used to sit. That can lead to hard feelings and even rumors as to the reason you left.
Whether you’ve become friends with your co-workers, you want to keep networking opportunities in place, or you simply don’t want them to feel like you ghosted them, it’s a good idea to let them know you’re leaving. Let your boss know first, but closer to your departure date, you may want to have a quick face-to-face chat with your co-workers. If that seems too time intensive, you can send them all personalized emails or cards reflecting on your time together and what you’ve most enjoyed about them.
In addition to being the polite thing to do, you never know when a future work opportunity at your old company will open up. And if you’re on good terms with your former colleagues, they’ll likely let you know about it when it happens.
End on a High Note
One of the most important things to remember when figuring out how to quit your job is to finish your last two weeks with a strong performance. If you don’t, you may hurt your chance of using your boss or co-workers for a reference on your resume.
Although you’ll have your eyes on your future, try not to mentally check out of your current job just yet. Wrap up any projects you’ve been working on and keep your colleagues in the loop about any slack they’ll have to pick up. If your last few days overlap with the person who is hired to replace you, do a thorough job of training them in the time you have remaining.
Don’t Burn Your Bridges
Sometimes things don’t end well in the workplace. Whether you felt you were treated unfairly or believe your company doesn’t treat its employees well, you don’t want to go off on an angry tirade toward upper management in your exit interview.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to offer constructive criticism about what more the company can do to attract and retain talent, you shouldn’t use your exit interview as a time to air all your grievances. Keep it polite and positive because you don’t want to burn any bridges. You never know when you might desperately need those contacts or that company again in the future.
Fork Over Company Property
Whether you have a laptop you were lent for work purposes or you have basic office supplies, make sure you turn everything in. Try to remember everything you were given and resist any urge to hang onto things you think your company will forget about.
On your way out the door, don’t forget to turn in your keys. Once that final act is done, you’ll officially be ready to move on with your career, and hopefully, you’ll be on your way to bigger and better things.