Career Advice

Quitting Your Job Gracefully

quitting your job gracefully

This being the second week in January, many people are making resolutions to improve their lives. A popular resolution is to get a new job. If you already have a job, then you will have to quit your current one. While the act of quitting your job is simple in theory, quitting your job gracefully is an art. You can quit your job hastily with no preparation (think of drawing stick figures), or you can methodically plan it out (like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling). And you have some who want to cause a big disruption when they quit (a la Banksy). Here are some tips so you don’t burn bridges.

Quitting Your Job Gracefully: Give A Notice

I hear this rebuttal all the time when I tell people to give a notice to their employer: “But my employer doesn’t have to give me a notice when they want to fire me. Why should I?” My answer is always the same: Because it’s just the right thing to do.

I know being the bigger person is hard but giving your employer the standard two week notice is polite. It allows your soon-to-be-ex-company time to prepare for your departure. This time gives you the time to transfer projects to your coworkers. And you should remember your soon-to-be-ex-coworkers because they will have to take on your workload until a replacement is hired. Well, if a replacement is hired.

In addition to those reasons, you should give a two week notice so you can verify any and all questions regarding your benefits and retirement account with Human Resources. This is very helpful if you want to continue your company healthcare through COBRA, or want to roll-over your retirement account.

Finally, you may be asked by HR if you want to do the exit interview. You can, but I err on the side of caution. I believe these interviews aren’t beneficial to yourself nor the company. HR may tell you that they want to learn what the company did and didn’t do well. The company already knows that.

Quitting Your Job Gracefully: Keep Calm

If your employer mistreated you, I feel for you. I had a hiring manager lie to my face about my job duties during the interview. A few months later, I’m working there and the same manager told me he lied to me so I would take the job. Yes, I was angry and resentful, but I never told him that when I put my notice in nearly two years later. (Why I stayed at that job after being lied to is a long story.) I didn’t tell my manager my true reasons of quitting because I was about to escape.

Now I won’t lie and say giving your boss and/or your coworkers a piece of your mind doesn’t feel great. It does! Getting all of your complaints and grievances out is such an awesome feeling. But then you will always be remembered as “that” employee. Years will past and someone will still bring up your tantrum upon quitting.

Finally, I tell you to keep calm because the world isn’t that big. Managers from different companies talk to each other. I know this from experience. And your manager could put in either a good word with your future manager, or say some bad things about you. Being black-balled still happens today.

Keep It Simple

You can find templates on how to write your notice by searching online. But you don’t have to follow those templates exactly.

Some of them state you should include the name of your new employer. I didn’t see a problem with that for a long time. But within the past three years I changed my mind about that. It’s none of your soon-to-be-ex-employer’s business.

You could be be starting a new business, or quitting to assist a family member. The reason why only matters to you.

Finally, keeping your new employer private is not considered bad form. But be warned that if you don’t tell your employer where you’re going, they may think you’re leaving for a competitor and end your employment right then. So if you really need the last two weeks of your pay, that may not be a good option.


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