By Howard Levitt and Eduard Matei
Here’s how to achieve a graceful exit without igniting unnecessary flames
1. Give proper notice
Leaving a job without proper notice is akin to leaving a dinner party without saying goodbye. Not only is it considered rude, but it’s also unprofessional and potentially costly. Consult your employment contract, understand the required notice period, and adhere to it. If your departure is abrupt, the ripple effect might cause unintended chaos, as well as potential financial consequences if your employment contract requires notice. And in the absence of such a contract, courts require employees to provide reasonable notice of departure which, if not provided, can lead to a lawsuit for the damages caused to your employer by the inadequate notice.
2. Talk to your boss first
Before letting your departure become office gossip, have an earnest conversation with your supervisor. Explain your reasons without dwelling on negative aspects. This isn’t the time to unleash a laundry list of complaints. It’s an opportunity to show respect and open the door for a dignified exit. It is also an opportunity for your soon-to-be-former employer to break the news in a manner that benefits everyone.
3. Offer assistance during the transition
Leaving a job isn’t merely about packing your desk and handing over the keys. Offer to assist in training your successor or wrapping up lingering projects. This gesture shows you value the work and the team you’re leaving behind, and it can go a long way in maintaining positive relationships. These types of relationships have a way of opening up doors in the future.
4. Maintain professionalism throughout
5. Avoid using company time to job hunt
Using office resources to seek new employment might seem convenient, but it can lead to ethical quandaries. Conduct your job search on your own time, using your own resources. Keep the transition clean and free of conflicts that could overshadow your departure. There have been cases where using company resources and time to job hunt have been found to be cause for discharge without severance.
6. Write a thoughtful resignation letter
While generally not necessary, a resignation letter is a formal farewell, a lasting impression in black and white. Be concise, gracious and appreciative. Express your gratitude for the opportunities and the growth you’ve experienced. It’s a final note of respect to your employer and team — treat it as such, not a place to air your grievances and make your employers regret ever having hired you.
7. Handle exit interviews with care
8. Stay connected
Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you have to sever all ties. Stay connected with colleagues and supervisors. A former co-worker can become a future collaborator, or even a lifelong friend.
Departing from a job is an intricate process, filled with emotions, formalities and unwritten rules. How you handle your exit can become a defining moment in your career. Approach it with care, empathy and professionalism.
In the final analysis, leaving a job isn’t just about saying goodbye; it’s about leaving a legacy of respect, co-operation, and integrity. It’s about ensuring that your professional path ahead isn’t marred by the missteps of a hasty or ill-considered departure.
In the grand dance of your career, make sure your exit is as graceful as your entrance, conducted with poise and leaving a trail of goodwill. After all, as the old saying goes (or was it something overheard at a legal conference?), “You never truly leave a job; you merely move to the next chapter.”