The Do’s and Dont’s of Quitting a Job

A friend once told me “you want to leave your job the way you want to start your new one”. 

Leaving a job with no explanation, over text message and/or without a proper three days notice is unacceptable. 

There is no easy way to tell your employer you want to quit your job. However, burning bridges should NEVER be an option. One should leave a job with grace and poise. Whether you are working as a hostess at Olive Garden or a Senior Level Executive at a company, there are a few crucial do’s and dont’s to live by. 

FORBES has a brilliant list of important rules to follow when leaving a current job. If you can follow this list, you are certain to leave with a lasting relationship with your previous employer and hopefully get that excellent letter of recommendation for your next venture!

Articulating The Goodbye

Do: Briefly explain your reason for leaving. Career experts advise simply saying that you’ve accepted another offer that you hope will further your career.

Don’t: Offer too much detail about the new position or your decision to leave. Your manager may misinterpret it or use it to try to persuade you to stay.

Mastering The Countdown

Do: Provide as much notice as possible and as is required. Two weeks is standard, but be aware of company policy; some march workers out the same day. In your remaining time on the job, maintain your enthusiasm and work ethic.

Don’t: Fake your way through the time that’s left. Career experts warn that managers will remember your final long lunches, early departures and general distraction. If you want strong recommendations, keep up the same pace.

Handling The Counter

Do: Be prepared for a counter offer, and if uninterested, turn it down graciously. Career experts suggest saying that you appreciate the offer but feel the other position is in line with your career goals.

Don’t: Insult the employer by tossing out a line like “it’s too little too late” or “it’s not about the money.” You’d be wise to bite your tongue. At the same time, don’t forget why you’ve decided to leave or be lured back into an unsatisfying experience.

Refining The Tone

Do: In speaking with managers, colleagues and subordinates, always focus on the positive experiences you’ve had with the company.

Don’t: Burn bridges by being overly negative, lying or taunting colleagues with news of your next position.

Training The Replacement

Do: Agree to help hire or train someone for the position in your remaining time on the job. It’s ultimately to your benefit to enable a smooth transition, making it less likely that you’ll be contacted after you’ve left.

Don’t: Rewrite the training manual or give too much of your time over to it. Says career coach Yusuf Wilson, “It is critically important to follow through on agreements. Do not over promise, but over deliver.”

Fielding Questions

Do: Let your employer or replacement know you’re willing to answer a few questions that arise after you’ve gone. Workplace expert Lynn Taylor says two e-mails or phone calls would be standard, and it’s courteous to respond as best you can.

Don’t: Give away too much of your time. Taylor advises against becoming a free resource to your former employer and says, “You must set limits.” If questions continue, begin by slowing your response time and consider offering your services as a consultant.

Informing Clients

Do: Seek the guidance of a manager on how to inform clients of the transition. They likely will approve phrasing and an e-mail notification.

Don’t: Disregard contract clauses that bar you from taking clients or proprietary information with you. Your actions could come back to haunt you.

Remembering The Details

Do: Pay attention to details like e-mail and phone messages. Where will they be directed after you’ve left? Carefully organize all hard and soft files so that important documents will be easy to find.

Don’t: Leave your physical space in a mess. If you don’t want to carry something home, toss it. Otherwise you may cause unnecessary frustration or contempt.

Writing The Transition Document

Do: Organize and write down the status of all projects and responsibilities that you are accountable for, including the appropriate contacts on each.

Don’t: Verbally give a manager the rundown. Taylor advises that you put everything in writing, so that your replacement can easily navigate projects once you’re gone.

Wrapping Up Relationships

Do: Answer all questions and offer feedback to subordinates, and remember to acknowledge those you worked with before leaving.

Don’t: Run out on subordinates without making sure you’ve left them in a position to succeed or follow up with you.


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