How to Leave a Job Gracefully
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Leaving a job gracefully enables you to protect your future career path and maintain good relationships with former colleagues. During your career, especially if you stay in the same industry, new jobs are often enhanced by good relationships with former bosses and co-workers. It's a small world - you never know who from your past you might meet again in your future.
The average worker changes jobs 10 times or more in a lifetime, so it's more important than ever to know how to make a peaceful departure.
Following these strategies as you plan a job change will ensure a smooth transition and keep your career on track.
Preparing to Quit Your Job
1. Be discreet about searching for a new job while you're working. Conduct your job search on your own time.
· Use your private email and cell phone when you send out resumes.
· Start dressing up now if you're concerned about looking conspicuous on the days you go out on interviews.
2. Consider your timeline. Timing always plays a big part. If you're considering leaving your current employment, a good time to start looking for new opportunities is right after you've made major accomplishments in your current position. This way, you're in a better position to get more desirable offers.
3. Review your company policies on resignations. Refresh your knowledge of the process for resigning at your company.
· Some workplaces may require you to notify your supervisor and the human resources department. Try to accommodate at least the minimum notice period requested.
4. Check your employee manual for compensation issues. Find out what you're entitled to when it comes to benefits such as unused leave, pension, insurance, and flexible spending accounts. You'll be prepared to verify that everything gets accounted for in your final paperwork.
5. Complete your assignments. Remain diligent about fulfilling your current responsibilities. It's the right thing to do and will make a better impression however things turn out.
6. Leave detailed documentation. Impress your supervisor by maintaining an updated training manual that your successor can use. This makes a graceful departure easier and your final days less hectic.
Submitting Your Resignation
1. Know the basics of a good letter of resignation. Regardless of the circumstances, put a positive spin on your reasons for leaving and express your gratitude for the experience. Specify your date of departure and offer your assistance with the transition. Close by extending your good wishes and the desire to stay in touch.
2. Talk with your supervisor. In many situations, you'll want to approach your boss in person to give them notice before the formal resignation letter. It can help defuse any anxieties and maintain a cordial relationship.
3. Clarify your references. Try to get a letter of recommendation so you'll have something handy in the future if you lose track of former co-workers. You may also want to supplement your supervisor's reference with additional endorsements from board members or others. If you can get your recommendation on LinkedIn, that would be extremely helpful too.
4. Make realistic commitments. Your employer will probably appreciate your cooperation in the transition. Offer whatever is feasible for your schedule in terms of training a successor and finishing projects.
5. Help find your successor. You can do everyone a favor if you know someone suitable for your old position. Let your boss know if you have a great candidate in mind.
6. Be prepared for your exit interview. Some companies conduct exit interviews to collect feedback from departing employees. Depending on the corporate culture, you may want to make constructive suggestions or just avoid saying anything that could cause complications.
7. Remain part of the team. Keep a positive attitude right throughout your time on the job. Speak tactfully about any past conflicts as well as about your new position. Make every effort to be helpful and considerate.
Starting a new job can be an exciting step forward in your life. By making a smooth transition from your former employer, you'll keep your career on track and make the process less stressful for everyone involved.