You may be in a job that is leading you nowhere. You may have decided that it’s time for a radical career change, or that a return to school is in the cards. You may have a better job waiting across the street – or you might just be so sick of your fellow workers’ faces that you just can’t stand the thought of coming into the office for one more day. Regardless of your reasons, you’ve decided to quit – so how can you do it in the most effective way possible, without burning your bridges?
Is This The Right Time?
Sure, you’re out of there – but is this the right moment? It might be beneficial to wait, depending on your situation. If you have another job waiting, or are going back to school in two weeks, then you don’t have the option to wait, but if you have some flexibility in your planning, then choose the right moment.
Perhaps the boss you can’t stand is on the verge of transferring to another office. Or perhaps a promotion is right around the corner for you and your dead-end job is about to turn into a career track. Don’t miss those opportunities through haste to implement your decision to quit. You might also have benefits or rewards that are about to accrue – if you’re going to get a week of vacation time in a month, put in the month and take that week!
Don’t Burn Your Bridges
Sometimes people leaving a job see it as the perfect chance to tell the district manager why nobody wants to sit with her at lunch, or to give your boss the angry tirade that’s been building up for the last three years. Resist the temptation. Even if you don’t need a reference today, you might need one in three months – you might even find yourself needing your old job back.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be frank about your reasons for leaving, it just means that you need to do it in a responsible and mature way. Tell your boss that you feel the company doesn’t value the people in your position – not that he’s an overbearing jerk. Be truthful but diplomatic.
Be courteous and adult, no matter the provocation – and there may be provocations, depending on the situation you’re exiting! People will admire your class, and will remember how well you handled things. If you’re invited to a farewell party, go. Some companies, particularly larger ones, have “exit interviews” where you will have the chance to give feedback on your tenure at the company – take advantage of it, but again be mature and respectful.
Leaving a job can be stressful and emotional, even if you are happy about the change. Make the transition with grace and style, and best of luck in your future efforts!