How to Quit Your Job

Dreaming of telling the boss to shove it and running away to a deserted island for a well-deserved career break? It’s best to keep those dreams just that for the moment, at least until you’ve planned a graceful exit.

Here’s how to leave a job with poise and a plan, with your career, references and professionalism intact.

Weigh Up The Options

Everyone has bad days, weeks or projects, so before thinking about quitting on the spot or not coming back from lunch, take some time out to think about what you want, why you’re feeling frustrated and what some other solutions are.

If the sinking feeling is that it’s time to move on, consider the type of job and workplace that’s worth moving to, because you don’t want to have this feeling one month after making a hasty move to get straight out of one workplace and jump head-first into another.

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Should you stay in a job like this or find something better? Tough call. 

Give Notice

Now is the time to find your original employment contract from when you first joined the organisation and check your leave notice period. Most full-time jobs require four weeks’ written notice, but others may only require two.

Even in a casual workplace, quitting on the spot should be avoided. Make sure you meet this notice period requirement, both by giving your current employer plenty of heads up, and letting your new employer know when you can start.

Leave A Tidy Legacy

Clean up your desktop (physically and on your computer), tie up loose ends, have solid file structures, and leave clear instructions for your replacement. If you’re the one training the person replacing you, make it as thorough as possible. Create a quick guide they can use as a reference if one doesn’t exist already.

Think about any difficulties you had learning the ropes and try to make life easier for them. This will help current staff and bosses come to terms with you leaving and make for a smooth transition.

Don’t Burn Bridges

You never know when you will cross paths with people you’re working with now, so do whatever is necessary to ensure there’s no bad blood. No matter how much you want to make a scene, shout and storm out, remember you have a lot more to lose than the company. At the end of the day, you’re replaceable, so it’s in your best interests to stay onside, even after you’ve quit.

Going for a new job isn’t a chance to badmouth your current boss, either. If the future employer hears you complaining, they won’t want to be next in line, so zip it.

Leave The Door Open

Leaving on a good note means there’s a better chance of being called on and referenced in the future. It could be recommending clients to you, bringing you on as a freelancer or consultant, or keeping you in mind for any other endeavours.

Maybe you want to ask your current boss to be your mentor, which depends on keeping your network strong and continuing to strengthen your reputation.

Main pic: We Heart It.