Quitting your job can be awkward, to say the least. Pulling off a seamless and graceful exit from your company can be trickier than you expect, especially when you want to avoid burning any bridges in your industry.
Before you declare your intention to quit, take time to consider your strategy. No matter your reason for leaving your job, there is always a right way—and a very, very wrong way—to go about the transition.
Below, we outline what to pay attention to and rules to follow when moving on from your current role in order to ensure a peaceful transition.
Tell your boss first
It’s imperative that your boss is the first person that you inform of your intention to leave your role. Though you may be tempted to let your office BFF know that you’re leaving before anyone else, it’s better to tell your boss first, because the last thing you want is for your boss to hear it through the grapevine. This takes away your control of the narrative and can make your intentions seem unclear.
When you tell your boss that you are leaving your job, make sure you do so in a one-on-one, private setting. Sending an email would be inappropriate in this situation. Treat this situation formally, no matter how relaxed your relationship with your boss is. This shows that you aren’t making the decision lightly and that you respect your manager’s time and authority.
Remaining formal in your resignation also means avoiding being overly emotional. The conversation is about your professional goals and momentum, and not about your personal feelings toward the company or your coworkers. Get to the point, and don’t burden your manager with your personal opinions on the matter, whether they are controversial or not.
Remain gracious about the opportunity
Many of us have imagined that juicy moment where we loudly and dramatically declare our intention to quit and storm out of the office for the last time. No matter how terrible your current job may seem, don’t act out this cathartic fantasy. Just because you’re leaving your current company doesn’t mean that you are immune to burning bridges with consequences that could potentially follow you for the rest of your career.
Instead, make sure you make it clear that you thoroughly enjoyed your experience with the company and are thankful for the opportunity and skills you might have picked up.
Whatever you do, do not tell your boss all of the negative reasons why you are quitting your job. Instead, try to frame it in a way that shows you are choosing to make a move for professional growth, or explain that your personal life is changing in a way that requires you to switch jobs or relocate.
Don’t lie about your reasons for leaving
News travels fast in the workplace, and that can extend beyond your individual office. If you lie about your reason for leaving and somehow the news gets back to your old boss, this can still negatively impact your career. You never know who that information can reach.
Be upfront with your boss about your intentions. Hopefully you’re leaving your job due to a happy and constructive reason, such as advancement or a major life event. There is no reason to lie about your intentions in these scenarios, and any reasonable boss will be happy for your advancement.
That being said, if you are leaving your current role due to your general unhappiness in the workplace, attempt to frame this constructively while still remaining honest about your reasoning. As previously mentioned, keep your reasons brief and professional, and only give this information when prompted.
Leave on good terms with everybody
Not only do you want to ensure that your boss and you remain on good terms when you leave, you should also be sure that other upper management, coworkers, and even peers that you have mentored all remain allies. Maintaining a positive relationship with your coworkers even after you leave can only serve to benefit you in your career.
Make sure you say your goodbyes to everyone! Sneaking out early might seem appealing on your last day in the office, but taking the time to let your coworkers know how much you have appreciated working with them goes a long way. Not only is it the nice thing to do, but you never know if you’ll end up working with some of these coworkers again later on in your career.
Complete all outstanding projects
Even if you make your peace with all of your coworkers and avoid irreparably burning any bridges, you still might leave a sour memory of your time with the company if you leave work unfinished after your departure. This creates more work for your team in your absence, and it shouldn’t be their job to clean up your mess. Be a team player and fully complete your projects with your remaining time left in the office.
If you have ongoing projects that would be impossible to complete in your last few days with the company, make arrangements with a team member to take over the assignment and take the time to thoroughly train them on how to accomplish the project. Make sure your manager knows the state of the assignment and is clear about who is taking over.
Leaving your job can be complex, but you should always make sure you have something lined up before you make any moves. Seen can help you find your next job while you remain at your current role in order to make your job transition as seamless as possible.