Quitting a job is usually awkward and filled with uncomfortable moments and grey areas. We want to help you navigate how to quit a job the best way possible because, even if you haven’t had to already, quitting a job is probably something you’ll have to do at some point in your life.
We often picture quitting a job like a Hollywood scene where the promotion one should have gotten after years of hard work ends up going to the physically blessed, junior employee and the underappreciated, deserving employee storms out with the perfectly crafted “gotcha” speech.
Quitting that way would be more interesting, however, in the real world, the people we currently work with are our connections, and we never know how leaving a job might affect future opportunities.
That being the case, we have a few tips below on how to leave a job gracefully. Take a look before writing up your resignation letter, you don’t want to miss something important.
Don’t tell your colleagues about your plans to leave before you tell your manager (and your manager’s manager).
It might be tempting, but it’s best practice to hold off on letting your work buddies know you’re leaving until after having a conversation with your boss. Worst case scenario, someone lets your resignation slip before you have a chance to share the news which will make for an awkward, blind-siding situation between you and the leadership team. Play it safe and keep your resignation on the DL until you and your supervisor can share it with your coworkers together.
Be as transparent as possible about your plans to leave
Sure, you’re probably not going to tell your boss when you’re looking for a new job, but as soon as your actual plans to leave are set in stone, be sure to be open with your boss and not wait until the last minute (or last two weeks, for that matter) to let them know you’re leaving.
Quit in person
Of course, resigning from a job is probably going to feel uncomfortable,but that’s not an excuse to share your departure over email. That’s on the same level as breaking up with your ex over text. Safe to say you might not be on great terms with your boss afterwards. The first step of quitting is always having a talk with your supervisor.
Give at least two weeks notice
Two weeks notice is the absolute minimum amount of notice you should give when quitting a job. While it can be hard to stay motivated in your role after already turning in your resignation, what you need to ask yourself is this: “How hard will I be to replace?”
Say you’re in a position where you wear many hats or hold a lot of responsibility. In that case, you should probably reserve almost a month (or more) giving your company time to find a replacement and leaving you time to help train them during the transition. If you’re in a junior position and it wouldn’t be that hard for someone to learn what you do, two weeks notice is probably fine – but this is a critical conversation that you should have with your manager.
Train your replacement
Whether you’re an entry-level employee or a high-level executive, this is something you should always offer to do after resigning from a role. At the very least, it will help your employer not feel as though they’re being hung out to dry and really appreciate the help.
Any time you resign from a role, it’s important to show you are grateful for the opportunity you had. Being empathetic to their situation is not only the right thing to do, but it will enable you to figure out the best transition plan possible – one that ensures you leave on a good note with your manager and team.
Pro tip: Even before you plan on leaving a role (which, if you’re reading this, it might be too late, but good to keep in mind) it’s a great idea to keep a running “playbook” of how to do your job. Once you learn something or have mastered a task, add it to the playbook. If your departure falls before the new person arrives, outline your day-to-day, monthly, quarterly, and high-level responsibilities, as well as any institutional knowledge you (or your manager) might view as important to share. This way, when the time comes for you to find another job, half the training work for your replacement has already been done!
Write a two weeks notice letter
While it’s important to have an initial conversation with your boss(es) about your plans to quit, you’ll also need to write a formal resignation letter.
Every resignation letter needs these four things:
- A statement that literally states you’re going to resign
- A short explanation of why you are leaving
- The date of your last day of work
- A brief thank you
Here’s an example:
Dear Mr. Smith,
Please accept this letter as a formal notice of my resignation from my role of Business Development Associate at Your Company. My last day of work will be November 7, 2020.
I’ve recently received an offer to work as a Business Support Coordinator at XYZ Company and after consideration, I’ve decided to pursue this new role.
I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to work at Your Company for the last 3 years. I have learned many new skills that I know will aid me in my next role. [Feel free to add something personal here].
During the transition, I would be happy to assist in finding and training my replacement if that would be helpful.
I wish you and the company continued success and hope to stay in touch in the future.
Like we said, it can be difficult to find the motivation to work hard until the end of your notice, especially if you’re excited to get out of your current situation. That being said, it’s important to leave on a
good great note and finishing strong will help enormously with that. The nice thing is, your days probably won’t look like a typical work day as you may be tasked with finding and training your replacement.
Say goodbye to your teammates
Ah, the farewell. Again, it’s all about leaving on a good note. Even if you’re keen on a nice and quiet goodbye, this really is a time where you shouldn’t leave any loose ends and saying goodbye – simply put – is a classy touch.
Even after a farewell party (if you’re lucky enough to have one) on your last day of work, be sure to write a goodbye email thanking your coworkers for being great to work with and how you hope to keep in touch. Hopefully you mean it, but if not, at least it’s a nice touch. And make sure to share your personal email with the team so that people can reach you after you leave!
It’s always extremely important to leave a job on the best terms possible.
We honestly can’t stress this enough. You never know when you may need a former boss or coworker as a reference or if they’re a connection with someone at a company you will want to work for down the road.
Ever had a good or bad experience leaving a job? Share your story in the comments below and what you would have done differently in hindsight.