It’s happened to all of us: a new opportunity comes your way, be it another job, an educational opportunity, or you’ve simply decided to take a new path in your life. Quitting your job and leaving it can be tough and nerve wracking, especially if you’ve been with your company for a while or are happy in your role. In this article, we’ll dive into the intricacies of quitting your job, what to keep in mind, and how to stay on good terms with your previous employer and coworkers.
You’ve heard about the volatile job market and probably want to know why someone would quit their job right now. Well, there are lots of reasons; you’ve probably heard of some but others may surprise you. Let’s dive in and discuss the two main areas: company-based reasons and personal reasons.
Company-based reasons: if you’re not happy or feeling valued at your current role, it may be time to start the job search. Employees quit because they receive another offer with better compensation or benefits, feel uninspired by their work, don’t have a good relationship with management, or feel stuck in their career advancement.
Personal reasons: sometimes everything at the workplace is perfect and employees leave for personal reasons: family commitments, going back to school, a desire to relocate, or an unmanageable work/life balance.
How to Quit your Job
If it’s been a rough quarter and you have that new role waiting around the corner, it may be tempting to just up and quit. However, companies have procedures in place (that were likely outlined in your initial contract) and failing to respect those could mean that you are subject to consequences.
Step 1: Make your decision (and think it through)
The grass is almost always greener on the other side; quitting your job is almost always irreversible and you need to be absolutely sure of your decision. Consider what your life will look like in your new role (if you’re taking one) or without your current job. Will your commute be the same? Are your hours and holidays the same? How long have you been at your current job? Short stays at jobs can look questionable on your resume.
Thinking the decision through also entails considering what would make you stay at your current role. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive and employers are having trouble finding highly qualified workers, a new focus has been placed on employee retention. Consider what would make you stay and get ready to present that to your current boss if prompted.
Step 2: Review company policies
Does your contract or company policy outline a specific notice period when resigning? The majority of companies request two weeks notice, but this may mean 14 calendar days or 14 working days. Will leaving before the stipulated time period have financial repercussions? Ensure you fully understand your contractual obligations before you decide on your last day.
Step 3: Talk to your boss
Once you are sure about your options, it’s time to talk to your boss. This is undoubtedly the toughest part, but it’s key to do it as soon as possible. When breaking the news, follow these tips:
Get to the point and be direct: explain that you’re leaving, give a few reasons why, and thank your boss for their leadership.
Give them your notice: knowing your last day will help your boss plan and fill your position as quickly as possible.
Share good experiences: even if you’re leaving because of your relationship with the management, it’s crucial to be polite and show that you’re grateful for the growth you experienced in the role.
Step 4: Talk to HR and the rest of your team
News travels fast and to maintain professionalism, it’s best to tell the news to your colleagues personally. Once your boss is aware of your decision, take time to both tell HR so they can plan accordingly (payroll and vacation days may come into play) and your own team; they work closely with you and will be affected by your departure.
Step 5: Complete your duties
Your last two weeks may feel insurmountable, but it’s crucial to keep working hard and do your work until your last day. You may also be asked to create onboarding documents for the person taking your job or complete feedback with HR about your experience, boss, and overall responsibilities. You’re still an employee until your last day and it’s important to not fall off the horse.
Things to Avoid When Quitting Your Job
We’ve all had that job where we can’t wait to get out of there and would just love to tell our boss how we really feel. And while that may be super tempting and would feel good in the moment, it’s best not to take that road. Make sure you avoid this and other mistakes:
Leaving without proper notice: when you began your job, you most likely signed a contract that outlines departure procedures and it’s important to respect those.
Mailing it in for the last few weeks: as we mentioned above, you’re still an employee after you give your notice and are responsible for your normal duties. Do your job and make it through those last weeks.
Telling your team before your boss/HR: you might work with your best friends, but your boss and HR must be the first to know. It can come off incredibly unprofessional if your boss hears about your departure from anyone but you.
Not preparing your successor: even if you have the worst relationship with your boss or teammates, don’t set your successor up for failure by leaving them little to no onboarding advice or a mountain of work on their first day. Try to be as helpful as possible and prepare them for success - just like you would like done for you.
Trash talking your boss/team/company: you’ll most likely have an exit interview with HR and while it may be tempting to let it all out, that’s not constructive criticism for the future and can leave a bad taste in the mouth of the company. Instead, try to be honest yet respectful; remember, you might have to ask for a recommendation or reference in the future.
It can seem daunting and scary, but you can do it! People quit all the time and your boss and HR have seen it before (and will see it again!). Follow these tips and you’ll be set up for success.