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Nine tips on how to quit your job

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

Give notice Two weeks is pretty standard. Your contract may specify something else. According to Robert Half, “In most provinces, employment standards state that an employee must give the employer a written notice of termination of at least one week if the employee has been employed between three months to two years, or at least two weeks if the employee has been employed for longer than two years.” Find out what you have to do, and do that.

Keep it quiet until you tell your boss Don’t let your boss be the last to know you’re leaving. They will feel slighted and hurt, and a hurt boss is bad for your professional reputation. Worse, if you tell your people you plan on quitting, but haven’t actually made up your mind, your mind might be made up for you and you could be let go. This could mean you get unemployment benefits – if you’re fired without cause – and termination/severance pay. But it might not be what you planned for.

Line up another job first It’s easier to find a job when you already have one. Try to get another job before quitting if possible.

Be gracious Maybe you hate your boss, and the company is the worst place you’ve ever worked in your life. You want to give them all a piece of your mind, and then some, but avoid doing this. If there is an exit interview, that is the time to share your grievances. Even then, state your comments calmly. Avoid getting upset and trash talking. It won’t do you any good and may harm your professional reputation in future.

Do it in person Quitting should be done in person, if possible. It’s a courteous way to do it. Of course, email or phone are fine if you have no choice. I’m not sure where the in-person rule came from but people expect it. You might also write a resignation letter. I never have. But some employers might want one. Make sure you do it within the required notice period.

Send a goodbye message Email your colleagues and let them know how much you’ve enjoyed working with them (or, well, if you haven’t enjoyed working with them, lie). Include a link to your LinkedIn and suggest you connect there. You never know who might be willing and able to help you find your next opportunity.

Say thank you Even if you think you have nothing to say thank you for, say thank you. Thank your employer for the opportunity they gave you… (stop arguing. Say it anyway). Thank any mentors or trainers you might have had. Thank your boss.

Ask for a reference If you’ve handled things well and been a good employee, you should have no problem getting a letter of recommendation, right? Get it in writing, as a letter or reference on LinkedIn.

Leave things better than you found them A lot of these types of articles say to “go out on a high note,” like after a big victory or accomplishment. But that not always, or even usually, possible. At least, don’t leave a mess. Finish your projects, train your successor, wrap up any unfinished business, clean your leftovers out of the office fridge, and take everything from your desk. You don’t want anyone looking around and thinking about what a jerk you are for leaving them a bunch of spills to clean up. At the end of the experience, You want to leave an impression of professional courtesy. You want people to miss you and think highly of you, and to say nice things to your network. Make the right professional decisions and hopefully that’s what will happen. Read more: This is why 82% of employees would quit their jobs (but maybe you don’t have to)

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