How To Leave Your Job On Good Terms

When you decide to leave your job, it is important to do it as gracefully and professionally as you can. It is best practice to give adequate notice to your employer and write a formal resignation letter. If you skip these important steps you risk alienating and displeasing your former colleagues. This is a mistake as if you ever want to return to that company, or you want to go to another company in your industry, it could come back to bite you. You may be surprised at how well-connected people in your industry are, so make sure you protect your brand!

1. Writing Your Resignation Letter

A resignation letter is a formality and is a simple step. All that is needed is a brief letter stating your intention to leave your position. You should also include the amount of notice you are giving and the date your employment will end. A two-week notice period is customary and always appropriate. However, many people might stay for one or two weeks to train their replacement.

You should be grateful for whatever opportunities your employer has given you in your letter, and show your appreciation. Importantly, don’t use your resignation letter as the first time you announce your leaving. The letter is strictly documentation, and you should still speak to your boss beforehand.

2. Meeting With Your Boss

Try not to tell other colleagues you are leaving before you tell your boss, speak to your boss first during your 1:1, annual or quarterly review or request a meeting. The meeting should ideally be face to face, and if your boss is away for an extended period you will need to talk to HR or your boss’ boss.

The conversation you have with your boss should reflect what was said in your letter. There is no requirement to explain why you are leaving, where you are going, or the remuneration you are going to receive. However, you should aim to thank your boss, and if you can’t then talk about something positive such as something you have learned or enjoyed.

There are several ways your boss might react to your decision. They will either accept your decision, see what they can do to make you stay, or they might react poorly. If they do react well or ask for you to stay, you can move on to ask if you can use them as a reference in the future or negotiate a better offer from your employer.

If your boss does react poorly to your decision to leave, then the best thing to do is to stay calm and offer to leave sooner rather than later if your staying will disrupt the office.

3. Tell Your Colleagues

Once you have spoken to your boss, you are then free to tell your coworkers about your departure. You might decide with your manager how you will communicate the news, but this will probably be fitting with your office culture. Again, you don’t necessarily need to tell people why you are leaving, or where you are going unless you want to.

4. Work Through Your Notice

It might feel awkward and hard to keep working when everyone knows your leaving soon. Even if you have finished your regular tasks, you still have more to do such as communicating the knowledge you have on your role to someone. You can set up meetings with people to teach them about your job, write up status reports of ongoing projects, and try to guide the next person.

5. Participate In An Exit Interview

You might be asked to do an exit interview with your boss or with HR. If you make negative comments about Managers then it will likely get back to them, which could risk your relationship with them. So try not to burn any bridges in this interview, even if you think it is confidential.

Some things will however need to be said, for the sake of documentation and your colleagues. If you think you can voice your experience in a calm professional manner, without upsetting or burning bridges with people, then do so if you see fit.

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