At some point in our careers, we will all find ourselves in a position to leave our current job for a new one. This is inevitable. In the best of circumstances, most of us will be leaving the job in good standing, and with a good feeling on all sides. The reality though, is that this is not always the case. And while we’ve all seen and can commiserate with the most dramatic and satisfying of “I Quit!” stories, experts all agree that the best thing to do is to leave former jobs on good and professional terms.
But is there a right way to do that? Even under the most ideal circumstances, quitting a job can come with a unique set of challenges. Whether you find a job in a different location, for better pay, or in a more ideal work setting, most people are leaving their current job for a reason, and it can be uncomfortable to notify current employers about your new plans.
However, there is a way to move on gracefully, without burning any bridges along the way. In a best-case scenario, your former employer can be a reference for you, or even a future collaborator.
So what is the best way to leave a job on good terms, and make sure that you leave them smiling?
No one likes to be left in the lurch. When employees leave their job in a rush, it puts former employers in a tricky situation, and will likely create frustration as they try to scramble to find a replacement. It’s standard to give two weeks’ notice before leaving any position, although this can absolutely depend on where you are and the standard protocol for that industry. However, giving an employer enough time to get things sorted out before you leave will make things a lot easier for everyone.
A note on this… Who you tell is almost as important as when!
Make sure that when you are preparing for your departure, the first person that you tell is your boss or manager! While it can be tempting to get support from your coworkers, especially if you have a great relationship with them, we can’t imagine anything worse than the consequences of having your boss be the last person to find out about your future plans!
When leaving your job, make sure to finish any open projects and do the appropriate housekeeping to ensure that your work is in good shape to pass on to the next person in your position. Why is this important? Because someone will have to replace you, and you want to make sure that you make it as easy for them to get right to work as they begin. It’s the courteous thing to do, and also, the way you leave will reflect on you, as a professional. Make sure that you leave a legacy behind you that is above reproach, when possible.
The exit interview is an important part of the culture of any organization. It’s designed as an honest conversation between exiting employees and the company about ways to improve the work culture or job experience for the employees who are still there. Too often, however, exiting employees use this important evaluative conversation as a means to air long standing grievances, which ends up being less than productive. Ultimately this causes more harm than good.
Experts suggest using the exit interview as a way to create long-standing constructive feedback, so that you can continue to provide value to a company long after you have left.
In the end, no matter what the situation is behind your job transition, it’s good to keep in mind that the relationship between you and your job was mutually beneficial, at least at some point. While it’s best for you as a professional to quit in a way that maintains your professional integrity, on a human level, it’s always great to remember to treat everyone the way you’d want to be treated. You could be someone’s boss one day.
Whatever your next career moves might be, Mockmate can help you get ready for the next step. Our smart AI job interview simulator will get you ready for your next big interview, and well on your way to #bossgoals. Ready to level up? Give it a try today, and get that new job.