Exit Your Job with Grace

Congratulations you’ve landed that new job and pastures are greener.   Or, perhaps you hate your job or your boss. Let’s be honest here, you’re so ready to give your two weeks’ notice.   Part of you is channeling Johnny Paycheck and singing ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ routine.imagesMZ7RIRET

Nonetheless, quitting your job can be awkward and uncomfortable—and if you don’t do it well and have a plan, you might end up burning bridges and sacrificing valuable references down the road.

Regardless of what had you search out a new opportunity, exit the right way, with class and a plan. If you’re not sure how to go about it, here are three easy steps.

#1 Set a firm date for your last day of work.

Once you’ve got that date, compose your official resignation letter no one wants an email that says, BTW, X Date is going to be my last day. Ensure to be thankful for your time and experience you’ve gain while in employment there. Make sure to give yourself enough time to tie up any loose ends and train your replacement, if necessary.

Finally, schedule a time and date for meeting with your boss to break the news. If you’re pressed to reveal why you’re calling a meeting, you can say it’s just a general check-in— keep it vague. Make sure you have a printed, signed copy of your letter to hand over to make it official.

Up until this point, the quitting process has been easy peasy. However, when it comes to telling your boss that you’re out of there, it can get a little more intimidating.

#2 Have the “I Quit” meeting.

There is no script to these discussions. Until you’re in that conversation, you’ll have no idea what direction the conversation will take, how much begging for you to stay, and inquiries about what you’re doing next. Begin with a reason that you feel comfortable sharing, like “I’ve been offered an opportunity I want to pursue.” Your employer isn’t entitled to know where or why you’re moving on—simply when.

No matter how the conversation goes, it’s important that you don’t feel guilty about moving on or feel like you need to over-explain. In fact, the mantra is to keep it simple: It’s not personal; its business. No matter how close you are to your boss or how irreplaceable you think, you are—your boss will find a new person to fill your role. No-one is irreplaceable. Keeping this in mind will help create some distance between you and your job, making the conversation a little easier.

The more professional and respectful you keep the conversation, the easier it will be to leave your boss with a great impression. They will remember the great work you did; not just how you left. And down the road, if a potential employer calls your boss or you want to request a reference, you’ll be in the clear.

#3 Be as helpful as possible, as you finish your last few weeks.

Work your transition plan and distribute your unfinished projects to colleagues, along with sufficient descriptions of your progress so they can pick up right where you left off. Treat your colleagues how you’d want to be treated if you were in their shoes. If they’ll need background information on certain clients or projects, forward important emails and introduce folks who haven’t worked together before.

Then, and as you prepare to leave the office for the last time (after your resignation has been officially announced), send an email to your colleagues. A short, sincere note will help you avoid any bridge-burning and will keep your network strong.

When it comes to leaving a job (especially a terrible one), you may be tempted to go out with a bang. But quitting with grace and professionalism, and a well-thought out plan, will help you infinitely more, in the long run. You never know who you may run into a colleague or former boss later in the future, especially if you stay in the same industry.

Comment if you’d like to add any words of wisdom when resigning and if you enjoyed this blog let me know by clicking on “like” and/or “share”.

2 thoughts on “Exit Your Job with Grace”

  1. This is good advice. I left a company after 13 years for greener pastures. That job was a good experience, but after 2 years, I needed to make another move. Guess what, I left on such good terms, I was offered numerous opportunities to go back to my former employer. I’ve been back almost 6 years. This is really important!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. I had a similar story, where I was a “repeat offender” by having the option to return to an employer as well. I’ve seen some who don’t leave on good terms and depending on the industry it hurt the persons reputation with other employers.


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