To ensure you quit your job without burning any bridges, here are five essential tips:
- Give a reasonable amount of notice: It’s important to meet with your manager in person and provide at least two weeks’ notice, which is still the norm. You may also consider providing additional lead time—it really depends on you and your relationship with your employer. The only downside to giving more notice is that your manager may find a replacement more quickly than you planned, so just be ready in case your boss asks you to leave a little sooner than you anticipated.
- Consider your relationship with your manager: Many people ask me whether they should be honest with their boss about why they are quitting. My response is, it depends on your relationship with your manager. If you have had a friendly rapport where you have been able to talk freely, there is nothing wrong with providing an honest explanation. It really comes down to how you feel and what you’re most comfortable with. Follow your intuition.
- Practice the night before: It may sound silly, but rehearsing what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it goes a long way in calming your nerves. It may even be helpful to create an outline in the form of bullet points. Your goal is to be as factual, positive and succinct as possible. Make sure you have answers to where you are going and the date of your last day. Try to end the conversation by expressing gratitude and asking for a future reference. Overall, make sure you’re in control of the conversation.
- Plan for the unexpected: If you are leaving to go to a competitor, your employer may ask that you leave immediately. In that case, you’ll want to be prepared to pack your things. Also remember that you will need to return any company-owned items like cell phones, laptops and tablets and will lose access to any documents or projects that you’ve worked on. Another scenario may involve your boss asking you to stay longer to ease the transition. Think about whether you would consider this beforehand so you’re not caught off guard. You may also find that your manager is willing to counteroffer. Again, think this through in advance. Are there any terms you would accept that would cause you to stay? If not, remain firm and don’t waver.
- Offer to help with the transition: Helping your boss with the transition will go a long way in cementing a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. Creating a formal transition plan is also a good idea. Your manager will thank you, and it will help ensure that you have enough time to get everything done. Set realistic goals and make sure all your projects are wrapped up by the time you leave.
Resigning from your job doesn’t have to be a gut-wrenching experience. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not doing anything wrong by trying to advance your career. With a little planning and preparation, you’ll be able to quit your job while keeping your professional relationships and reputation fully intact