How to quit a job gracefully

Linda Le Phan

We get it – when you’re done with a job…you’re done.

Maybe you can’t stand your boss. Maybe you don’t feel appreciated. Maybe you’re dying for a change in career. Or maybe you’re experiencing one or more of the other common reasons why good employees quit their jobs.

Whatever the reasons are, once you’ve reached a certain point it’s no longer about IF you should quit, it’s just a question of HOW. How do you quit a job gracefully though?

If your situation is bad enough, you may have thought about leaving in a fit of rage without notice. But since that’s terrible for your resume, reputation, and career, you should definitely avoid letting it get to that point. Instead, here are some helpful tips for when you’re ready to quit your job that’ll give you peace of mind and help you move on without any damage to your career:

Try to resolve your differences first

If you have a great job but can’t move past one decision, transgression, or conflict, don’t give up without first working toward a resolution. The easiest first step is simply asking yourself, “How might I have contributed to this problem?” and then, “What can I do to help?” The solution might be to get over it, to present a solution and offer to do the work, to apologize, or to be more up front about your needs.

Don’t (mentally) quit before you quit

Quitting a job is one thing, but quitting a job mentally and emotionally without quitting a job in reality is a pretty graceless way to go out. Even if you’re seeking other employment, have accepted an offer, or have put in your notice, do your best work in your current role until you’ve off-boarded and are no longer on the company payroll. This is especially important if you have good relationships with your co-workers and they’re not a reason why you’re quitting – they don’t deserve to suffer for your career decisions.

Give ample notice per policy

Give as much notice as policy requires (often 2 weeks for support or skilled staff; 4 weeks for professional staff; and up to 90 days for execs and other highly compensated positions). Your new employer will admire your professionalism, your old employer will be so much more likely to serve as a positive reference and mark you eligible for rehire, and you might better preserve your relationships with your work friends.

Hold your tongue if you’re very disgruntled

Let’s be clear: you should always be honest with your employer about what’s led to your quitting, but there’s such thing as sharing too much. If you’re very disgruntled in your current job and there are way too many things that you don’t like about it, don’t feel obligated to air out every single negative feeling before you go. Say you’re pursuing an area of passion, you received an offer you can’t refuse, or you’re ready for a new challenge. You drive your own experiences at work, so if you’ve had a bad experience, either fix it or simply move on. Don’t throw the company under the bus and damage the morale on your way out.

Speak well of your former employer

During interviews with prospective employers, never criticize your current organization or it’s leaders. If you choose to leave a review on kununu’s employer review platform, be honest but professional; job-seekers generally pass over emotionally-charged, sensationalized reviews and read those that share an honest perspective of an employer’s strengths and weaknesses. Employees who are highly accountable simply don’t take the low road.

Don’t poach

Once you’ve left, avoid recruiting your previous clients coworkers to your new company – that’s called poaching. Sure, if somebody actively reaches out to you it’s okay to share information (as long as you don’t have a contractual agreement stating otherwise), but never contact a former client or coworker first. Even if you left on good terms, poaching clients and top talent isn’t very graceful and can come back to bite you.

 

To leave a review about your last employer or to find out what others have said about an company you’re interested in, check out companies on kununu!

 

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