If you’ve ever had to quit a job, you know it can get messy and emotional. Tempers flare, confusion ensues, feelings get hurt — quitting a job isn’t an inherently easy thing to do.
But people do it every day. It’s a necessary part of growing in your career, and the anxiety of quitting your job shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing another great opportunity.
Here are some guaranteed ways to make the process as painless as possible and to ensure that you don’t leave on bad terms.
Consider the timing.
According to Time magazine, it takes on average 6 weeks to get a new job. Before you quit your job, look at your current environment and consider the outcomes:
- Will quitting your job leave you burdened financially?
- Do you have another opportunity lined up?
- Is quitting your job an emotional reaction?
Think carefully about when and why you’re quitting your job so you do not put yourself in an uncomfortable situation down the road.
Communication is key when you quit your job. The first order of business is to schedule an in-person meeting with your direct supervisor to “discuss matters pertinent to your job.” Truth is, they’ll likely have guessed where the conversation is going after your initial email; this is just a respectful way to ensure that you’re in control of the conversation.
Speaking of control, stay ahead of office gossip by not telling your coworkers about your decision to leave. It’ll put you in an uncomfortable spot if your manager hears that you’ll on your way out from a coworker before you’ve gotten the chance to speak to them first.
Not all job environments are great. In fact, you may be leaving for that reason in particular.
However, thanking your employer for the opportunity is an easy way to make sure that you leave on good terms. It may not have been a great job, but it did pay your bills for a little while, and that’s worth something.
Be kind, but clear.
When you’re speaking to your manager, be clear about your intentions and (if necessary) why you’ve decided to pursue another opportunity. If your job was less than ideal, you don’t have to lie and say you loved working there; transparency shows character, and a great manager will listen and respect your decision. Just remember: it’s always easier to not say anything than to take back something you’ve said later.
Also, be sure they understand that you’re moving on; by quitting, you’re not obliged to help them after your last day. This can be especially difficult for smaller or more rural practices where help is harder to come by. Don’t get stuck “just helping” your soon-to-be former employer with day-to-day duties while they look for someone to fill your spot.
That’s why there’s a 2-week notice
Prepare your exit.
In the US, it is standard to give two weeks notice when you quit. This will allow you and your employers time to transition the job duties to another individual.
During those two weeks, wrap up projects and communicate with clients or patients that you’re leaving and someone will be filling your spot. Then, if needed, pass the flame to your replacement and train them on your duties.
You’ll also want to let your coworkers know that you’re moving on (if your manager hasn’t already). Sending a goodbye email to your teammates is a polite and professional way of signing off. Your team may rely on you for many things, so you don’t want to blindside them on your last day with the sudden knowledge that you’re leaving.
Quit like a pro.
Quitting a job properly takes preparation and confidence. While you may initially feel guilty about leaving a place of work, it’s oftentimes the best thing you can do for your career. Plus, for many hiring managers, this is just business as usual.
With the right exit strategy, you can leave with the respect of your coworkers and manager, a great recommendation, and your head held high knowing that you’re making another great career move.
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