This is Part 2 of the series entitled “A Job Quitter’s Primer”. Find Part 1 of this subject here.
So now that I’ve discussed both the recommended and the questionable reasons for leaving a job, I’m following up with how it should be done. Or not.
How To Quit Your Job
The Good Ways
- Resign in person.
Provide both an oral and written resignation. You should approach things professionally and write a resignation letter incorporating the following information:
- Your intention of leaving
- The date you are resigning
- The date you would like to leave
- Sign the letter
A basic resignation letter would look as follows (you can always add a little more personality to it if you prefer):
Dear Mr Hr Manager,
I am writing to inform you of my resignation, from POSITION with COMPANY NAME. As per my contract, I am providing X weeks notice and my last day will be DATE.
- Be honest, but be tactful as well.
Even though you may be tempted to lay it down thick, you may want to bite your tongue a little while telling the truth about why you are leaving.
- Offer to stay until they find your replacement.
Offer to work on a transition plan with your boss or team to ensure that a proper knowledge transfer is performed, that you’re able to tie up loose ends, and your work responsibilities are assigned to others.
- Evaluate the reasons for your departure so you don’t turn into a job hopper.
Investing in a little self-reflection may help you determine what keeps you at a particular job, or what keeps you from staying on. Many companies do frown upon too many employment changes reflected in a resume.
- Give sufficient notice.
The standard length of time for staying at your old job after you’ve officially resigned is 2 weeks. Don’t stay longer than that to protect yourself from unexpected changes involving your new company (such as a hiring freeze or a change in management) and to avoid possible awkwardness and ill feelings at your old position.
- Preserve your bridges.
As they say over here, the Valley is a small place and there’s some likelihood that you’ll probably bump into old comrades at some other point in time, at new places of work. I’m pretty careful about staying professional and in good terms with everyone I work with no matter what the state of our relationships are, in case I encounter anyone again in the future. So don’t burn your bridges.
- Be prepared for the consequences.
There’s a lot to straighten out once you decide upon leaving a job: COBRA, unused vacation time, unemployment benefits, 401K issues. Also, set up your references for your job hunting efforts, if you don’t have a new job lined up.
- Have another job lined up first.
It’s best if you can have the new job offer in writing so that you cover all the bases before making any moves. This way, the ball remains in your court and you have control of your situation.
You can find some other great ways to move on here.
The Worst Ways
Try not to leave under these circumstances, if you can help it.
- Don’t quit when your timing is bad.
It’s common sense: don’t leave your job if you currently have a lot of financial obligations and you don’t have something else lined up.
- Don’t quit when you don’t have negotiating power.
It probably bears repeating: don’t leave without having another job lined up. With some negotiating power during your departure, you may be able to work out better terms with your employer or may even consider counter-offers.
- Don’t announce your departure by way of email, fax, phone or post-it note.
This is how to burn your bridges instantly. Your boss won’t appreciate it, and your chances for getting references from your former employer will be nil. So no matter how you hate it at your job, you still need to be polite about your leaving.
- Don’t leave by making a dramatic exit.
Now this would be lame. I doubt anyone would like being privy to a drawn out, emotional departure from a co-worker. It’s a way to get blacklisted in an industry as a “challenging employee”.
- Avoid becoming overly emotional.
For the same reason as above, it’s embarrassing to be less than businesslike in a professional situation. Here’s a personal experience that bothered me for quite a while; I actually still cringe when I recall the incident.
- Don’t leave suddenly and without warning.
Not only is it unprofessional, it is also immature to ditch your job without fair warning. Again, this is an excellent way to ruin your track record. A proper resignation should be granted an employer just out of respect and courtesy.
- If you go, don’t take other colleagues and the company’s clients.
This is simply unethical. However, it’s not uncommon in ruthless industries for this to happen. It may be common enough that such a practice is acceptable in some circles. I personally haven’t seen this happen in the world I work in…yet. Just an aside: I wouldn’t consider the mass exodus by a bunch of disgruntled employees from a particular company as “taking one’s colleagues away” from their place of work since it’s most likely that everyone’s decided to up and leave on their own, albeit for similar reasons. Now this I’ve seen happen numerous times throughout my work life!
For fun, here are a few more ways to go badly, by CNN Money readers.
Remember though, no matter what you decide to do, just remember that it’s a small world, even in the realm of business, and that it’s best to go out under the most positive terms you can muster.
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