Don’t burn that bridge
How To Quit Your Job Professionally
There are many reasons to quit your job and an equal number of ways to do it. Of course, you can go out in a blaze of glory, your guns blasting as you set fire to every bridge you’ve ever crossed. But that’s probably not the best course of action, even if you’ve been wronged.
Here’s the thing, if your manager is good at their job, then they’ll probably know something is up before you tell them.
In any case, much like your original job search, there are steps you need to take to get the most out of the job, even long after you leave.
Pro Tip: Always focus on the positive when you are interacting with your new and old employers.
So, you’ve decided to quit. If it’s because you have a new job, then congratulations. But, don’t quit because you’re having a bad day. That won’t pay the rent or utility bills, nor will you be eligible for EI payments. While there are times when a random opportunity may land in your lap, a person looking to leave a job is likely searching for another. Make sure you have the paperwork completed before you pull the pin on your current position. They may not be so forgiving and offer you your job back if your plan doesn’t work out.
On the other hand, if you find yourself wronged, remember that you have rights as an employee and there is a process you can take to exercise those rights.
If you’ve exhausted that path and still feel compelled to leave your job, question yourself if there is anything that can be changed to keep you. There is a possibility your employer will ask you later and having an answer will help. If there is something, then you may have a new path to travel and if there isn’t, then you know you’re making the right choice. Don’t let guilt from quitting your old job spoil your new one.
Pro Tip: Take a look at your employment contract to make sure there aren’t any restrictive covenants for after you quit. You wouldn’t want to learn you can’t work for the competition for 6 months.
A lot goes into your timing. You need to be mindful of when your old job ends and when your new one begins. People often want time off between jobs, however that may not be possible.
Though it isn’t a requirement, offering two weeks notice has become a standard when it comes to quitting a job. Not only does this give you time to get things in order for your new job, but it cushions your old employer as they look for your replacement. If the hiring process comes from within, you may know your replacement already and be required to train them in your last days with the company.
The courtesy of giving two weeks notice is also designed to win you points for future interactions with the employer. You may need a reference some day and a burned employer won’t be as compelled to offer one.
The best way to think about it, is the golden rule. How would you feel if someone quit and left you in a lurch? We can only control our own actions and if you want to be remembered as an upstanding individual, then offering that two weeks is your benchmark.
On the other hand, some companies may consider an employee working after giving notice to be a risk. In that case, you may be ushered to the door the instant you give notice. In most cases, you are still entitled to the income you would have earned during that period. That said, a company that does this likely has it written into your employment contract how much time they will pay you for so you can’t abuse the system by giving an arbitrarily long notice period in hopes of getting a sizeable payout for work not rendered.
Pro Tip: Remember any bonuses or commissions that may be payable in the future. While some payments may be required, you don’t want to quit and not have access to them.
Do it in person and Put it in writing
Quitting a job can be emotional and screaming “I quit” isn’t effective or emotionally stable. When the time comes, you will want to put it in writing. It doesn’t have to be poetry, but when given the time, you will do a much better job of quitting when you can edit your words. When you are ready, request a meeting with your manager and give them the news in person before giving them the letter.
No one has to get emotional and that will give them time to think about it before responding. It also puts the process on record if you ever go back to that employer for a job.
Pro Tip: Remember your reasons for quitting. Though not often, an employer may counter your offer to keep you and you want to make the right decision.
Pro Tip: Don’t let your employer hear your news from someone else. They are human too.
This is where you have to think about your future. You may come back to the company, your manager may someday become your manager somewhere else, or they may know your new employer personally. Are you ready for that animosity? Being cordial makes sure everyone remains level-headed and prepared for anything else that may arise.
Though some companies don’t, you may be asked to perform an exit interview. You aren’t required to give your reasoning, however if you are honest and polite, an employer can learn from the experience.
Who knows, your input may make it worth returning to work for them some day.
After you’ve left, you may find other employees contacting you for support.
While you aren’t required to do so and you should certainly set boundaries so you aren’t taken advantage of, you should still be cordial.
Not only will you be a better person for helping, but they will remember the gesture in the future.
Pro Tip: Refrain from using social media to air your grievances, even if there are many. Once gone, just then get on with your next job.
Keep up the good work
After you’ve quit, don’t waste your employer’s time. Keep working at your full potential.
By completing your tasks like any other day, you will ensure the bridge isn’t burnt.
It will show everyone your integrity and if there is the possibility of retaining a bonus, you’ll have a better chance of it by doing the right thing.
Another thing to think about is to not waste other employees’ time by keeping them talking when they should be working. An employer can become embittered with other employees when in fact it’s your fault for slowing down the work.
Focus on the positive
Once you’ve made your decision and moved on to your next job, you know you’ve taken the prospect seriously and quit with integrity.
Remember that in many industries, your old employer may be a big player and keeping in touch with them may afford you an opportunity in the future, with their company or an entirely new one.