If you are reading this, you probably need to find a new job. Or perhaps you’ve already scored a great new gig and are now plotting your grand exit.
But no matter how long you’ve dreamed of storming into your boss’s office and quitting in a blaze of anger, it’s important to leave your position gracefully.
That’s why we’re here to offer five ways to quit your job with no regrets:
1. Give Much More Than Two Weeks Notice
It’s common courtesy to give two weeks notice before leaving a job. However, if you’re looking to maintain great relationships, consider giving much more notice before your departure, and consider offering to help hire and train your replacement. This will demonstrate that you aren’t making a mad dash for the door and that you truly care about the well-being of the company. This will also quell the grumbling of coworkers who are normally forced to pick up the slack following a team member’s departure.
When you do give notice, make sure to inform your boss and human resources before telling anyone else – yes, even before your work BFF or work spouse – so that they don’t find out through the rumor mill first.
2. Don’t Quit Before It’s About to Get Busy
If you are looking for a surefire way to burn bridges, quit your job just as the going is about to get tough. Everyone will remember the accountant who disappeared right before tax season, or the product manager who abandoned ship just prior to a major product launch.
If you want to leave a positive lasting impression, don’t leave your team high and dry.
If you absolutely must leave at an inconvenient time, try to find a way to compensate for the burden you are shifting onto others. Make yourself available for questions after you start your new job (within reason). Although this may involve sacrificing a few precious free hours, people will appreciate and remember you for it.
3. Thank Your Employers and Coworkers
We’re all taught to say our “pleases” and “thank yous” as children for a reason: They are extremely effective. Before you bid farewell, make sure to go out of your way to express genuine appreciation for the experiences and opportunities that company afforded you.
If you had an all-around terrible experience (and you’re leaving, so you may have), focus on just one or two things for which you can genuinely feel grateful.
A great way to do this would be by writing a handwritten thank-you letter, which has been found to be much more effective than email. You might even consider bringing in a small parting gift for the whole office on your last day. Bagels, anyone?
4. Start Clearing Out Early
You’ve said your farewells and you’re excited to leave as early as possible on your last day. Maybe you have happy hour plans with those coworkers you’re leaving behind. But wait — you have how many months of work files to organize and store? And saving everything you need from your work computer is going to take how long?
There are inevitably a thousand small things to do before you can leave a workplace behind forever. Don’t leave yourself scrambling to clear out on your last day. Start this process up to a full week before you leave.
This means more than cleaning out the picture frames and succulents on your desk. Make sure to send yourself important files or documents (without violating confidentiality, of course) while you have access to them. For future job interviews, reviewing these will prove invaluable in order to speak about previous work accomplishments.
5. Make Sure You Know Why You’re Quitting
Maybe you’re leaving because you’re ready to move to the next level in your career. But if you’re quitting because you are unhappy, make sure that your problem is with the specific position and company, and not the industry or career path.
Consider taking an aptitude test to verify that you are in the right line of work. There are some fantastic free (and freakishly accurate) career assessments out there for you to take. For instance, this test from PathSource and this test from Rasmussen College both make specific recommendations for careers that match your interests and personality.
So, before you quit, seriously introspect on the source of your career unhappiness. It could save you from years of boredom and misery. Otherwise, you may find that your new job is just as unfulfilling and end up right back where you started – rereading this article.
Rubina is marketing manager at PathSource, a career exploration company that aims to transform lives by connecting people to their ideal career paths. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and all things food-related (including cooking it, eating it, and watching reality shows that revolve around it).
Brandon is a senior at the University of Minnesota, where he studies strategic communication and Spanish. Following a string of odd jobs, including waiting tables at not one, but two Indian restaurants, he now finds himself interning for PathSource as their social media and marketing intern.