7 Tips For Quitting Your Job The Right Way (If There Ever Was One)
There are good reasons to stay in a job, and then there are others that prove you need to get the hell out of there – and when the scale tips to the side of the latter, it’s good to know there’s an art to leaving the building without tearing down your relationships in the process.
There could be a number of reasons why you’d want to call it quits. Maybe you don’t feel as creatively fulfilled as you used to, or your boss has been acting like an A-grade jerk for too long and you’ve simply had enough. Or if you’re being completely honest with yourself, you’re just not that excited to get out of bed in the morning.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s understandable that change is hard, and quitting your job is scary. Thankfully, The Financial Diet recently piled together a list that helps you to quit your job the right way, because you can be a nervous wreck and a little guidance makes an uneasy task bearable. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
#1 Be professional
Though it sounds like a blast, shouting aloud that you’ve “had it up to here with this place!” and storming off in a huff is probably not the best way to quit your job. It probably stipulates in your contract that you have to give notice before upping and leaving. So when you kick down your office chair and start throwing a hissy in the office, more often than not, you’re going to have to return the next day red-faced and apologetic.
Never burn bridges – who knows, your future employee might want to call up your old work for a reference – and ex-colleagues are a great networking resource and can often spark new opportunities later down the track. Think of it like a break-up; you want to be fondly remembered as a great employee, not as someone who didn’t have the decency to quit in person. Schedule a face-to-face meeting, be professional and empathetic to the whole situation. It’s not going to be easy for them, either.
#2 Be calm
Don’t turn this professional conversation into a verbal fist-fight or an inexcusable sob fest. While quitting your job can be emotional, try your best not to lose your cool. Skip the unnecessary snark and passive aggressive comments and opt for a civilised conversation instead. After all, no one wants their quitting story to turn into the urban legend of the office.
#3 Be confident
Be ready to stand behind your decision, 100%. If you’re feeling a little shaky, try preparing for the conversation like you would a job interview – anticipate questions and have an arsenal of answers that go way beyond the simple “I don’t want to work here anymore.”
Sure, it’s a pretty scary conversation to have and it will inevitably get uncomfortable and sweaty, but remember: you can do this.
#4 Be flexible
While this will differ from workplace-to-workplace, it’s always good to be flexible and accomodating to the needs of your boss. Traditionally, it’s polite to give at least two weeks to a month’s notice of your departure, but if you don’t want to leave your former colleagues in the lurch, try being a little flexible with your time. That way you might get the opportunity to train up the new team member who’s taking over, and maybe even finish up some last minute tasks.
#5 Be hardworking
It’s a well-known fact that after you’ve officially quit, your motivation to work will start to wane – especially when you see your exit in sight. But before you mentally check out for the three weeks that remain, get yourself into gear and work to the best of your abilities to tie those loose ends. If you finish up with a 100% completion rate you’ll be able to leave the company on a positive note.
#6 Be gracious
Acknowledge the positive experiences you had while working for your company and the learnings you’ve now got under your belt rather than hashing out the negatives.
Being thankful for the opportunities you’ve had and for the growth you’ve made on the way is a gracious way to end your employment. They’ve helped you get this far, right?
#7 Be constructive
In the same vein, there are going to be criticisms you’ll want to share on your way out the door. But there’s a fine line between offering criticisms and just plain complaining. The last thing you want to do is leave your company on a sour note.
Try not to turn your criticisms into a giant bitch fest about the office. How you turn criticism into constructive feedback is by offering solutions to the problems you bring up. If you get an exit interview with your company’s HR department, or even just a goodbye coffee with your boss, try your best to stay level-headed and not get wrapped up in the emotional whirlwind of quitting.
Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.