Quitting a job is never as fun as it seems like it will be. Despite fantasies of a dramatic exit where you verbally scorn everyone who you feel has wronged you, in most cases leaving a job is a lot more stressful and difficult than it can seem. The trick, everyone knows they need to know but no one seems exactly how to do, is to leave gracefully. Burning bridges is always the worst option, but how exactly do you go about leaving in a way that leaves a door open and keeps people from badmouthing you on the way?
Be Direct. Make sure you are as direct as possible about your intentions to leave. Don’t half way commit to leaving either, that is even worse than not mentioning it. By mentioning you might want to leave then never mentioning it again, you put your employers on notice and now they have to prepare and plan for your exit without you ever really doing anything to go. Instead, do not mention it until you know for sure you are leaving, then go directly to your immediate boss and tell them.
Make sure you have time to help the transition. Hopefully, whatever job you are moving to will understand you have to leave the old one first, and in fact, many appreciate that you want to give a notice before leaving. This shows you are not only responsible but respectful as well, two good qualities in an employee. While it may be awkward during your final weeks there, it’s not only beneficial to you but your exiting company as well. You can help make sure that they have a reasonable amount of time to find a replacement for your position while simultaneously ensuring that no bridges are being burned. Work hard those last weeks too; don’t sandbag your now old job. If your performance drastically declines in those last weeks, it will leave a bad impression on everyone, which will be remembered if you ever want to return to the company.
Get a signed letter of resignation. Having a boss sign a letter of resignation is a good insurance policy if you feel you may have a ‘pot-stirrer’ of a boss or in upper management. Having your immediate boss sign a letter saying you are quitting will keep them from calling your new place of employment and telling them you were fired.
Make sure everyone feels respected and say your goodbyes to everyone. No matter what business you are currently in, leaving or going too, it is a common saying not to step on people on your way up, because you may meet them on the way down. Make sure you treat everyone with respect and make your rounds before you leave. This way if you ever need a job there again, they will remember how respectful you were and if that is the first thing they think of when thinking about you, your chances of being rehired are much higher.