All employment opportunities, even the ones that have treated you well for decades, eventually come to an end. If the time has come for you to quit your current job and move on to greener pastures, it’s important to go about it in the best ways you can. With careful consideration, planning, and these helpful tips, you can leave your position at a company with as much grace and professionalism as possible.
1. Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row
Though a career can provide a great deal of personal fulfillment, they also largely exist to provide a paycheck and put food on the table. Long-term careers also help you to prepare for the years of retirement ahead of you, and you may have a retirement savings plan, health insurance plan or other savings arrangement that is set up through your job.
Apart from ensuring you have the funds to sustain your transition, take measures to ensure you’re set up for future success. Make sure you know how to look up an old 401(k) should you decide to avoid cashing it out, withdrawals or rolling it over to alternative plan.
2. Communicate with Your Boss
The news that you’re leaving the company should be relayed to your boss first, lest they hear it from another employee before you get the chance. Even hints or seemingly covert statements that you’re considering a change in employment that have been shared with your coworkers or colleagues can get the workplace talking, and it’s important that the information comes from you first and foremost.
3. Provide Proper Notice
Even if your new employment overlaps your current situation, it’s important that you provide enough notice for your job to secure a replacement and prepare for your exit. Two weeks’ notice is standard, but keep in mind that your employer may permit, or even request, that you shift this window to accommodate everyone’s needs. Your company may suggest that you leave sooner, or they may ask that you stay on for a few more days while they tie up loose ends.
4. Keep Your Future Prospects Hushed
Your new job may truly be the opportunity of your dreams, but it’s best to keep it quiet while you’re still in your current position. Mentions of how wonderful your new position will be, any pay upgrades or anything that may seem boastful to your coworkers could leave relationships on a sour note. It’s more important to let your colleagues know what you appreciated about your time with them than it is to discuss what you have to look forward to without them.
5. Stay on Top of Your Work
Many are tempted to let their work ethic slide knowing they won’t be in a current position for much longer, but up until your last day, you’re still an employee at the company with the same responsibilities. Treat your job no differently throughout your last days.
Make sure you complete all of your assignments with the same diligence and dedication you showed throughout the course of your employment. This is not only the right thing to do for your current coworkers, but it also serves you well in the future when you use your former colleagues as a reference.
6. Be Positive
You may be leaving your job feeling defeated and exhausted, but try your best not to badmouth, gossip or exhibit negative energy in your final days. If anything, keep your chin up knowing that you only have to stick it out for a certain amount of time. The best exits are characterized with grace and dignity, so make sure your words, actions and communications remain civil, positive and constructive. Don’t openly blame anyone or anything for your departure–even if that’s truly the case.
7. Leave Things Well
A fresh-faced employee will soon arrive to take over your responsibilities. Set them up for success by facilitating a smooth training process, leaving clear instructions, completing all the tasks that you can and leaving your workspace or office organized for when they arrive for their first day. If you will be a participant in their training, make sure to provide as many tips, tricks and guidelines to help them do their job well after you leave.
8. Maintain Relationships
You never know what the future holds, and the relationships and connections you make while in every position could even open doors for you down the road. Say goodbye to current coworkers and supervisors and commit to staying in touch if you feel open to it.
Let all of your clients and colleagues know that you appreciated working with them and hope to reconnect in the future, and then do what you can to keep the line of communication open. Good references can help or hurt your ability to advance in your career, and you’ll be better off by treating everyone as though they were an asset to your time at your job.