Leaving the security of your job is always a scary thing, so make sure you have properly analyzed – and are prepared for – every possible outcome. You never know when your path will cross again with your employer’s. Someday, you might need a good reference or you might even bump into each other at an industry conference. So, it’s always best to leave on good terms.
Whether you’re making a career change or life has thrown you a curveball, here are a few guidelines to help you say goodbye without burning bridges.
When you’ve arrived at your decision to leave, you may want to compile a list of colleagues that you want to break the news to. The person at the top of that list should be your direct supervisor. Having your manager hear of your departure from office gossip is the last thing you want. After informing your boss, begin telling others on your list if you want the news to become public.
Talk Face to Face.
Make every effort possible to inform your boss of your intentions face to face. An e-mail or telephone conversation is only appropriate when geographical location prevents an in-person meeting.
When discussing your departure, be prepared to give your reason for leaving. Although you aren’t required to do so, it is the courteous choice. It can be as simple as, “I’ve found a new opportunity to advance in my career,” or “I’ve found something that better fits my talents and desires.” Keep in mind, this is not the time to point the finger or vent frustrations.
Account for Curveballs.
During your meeting with your supervisor, they might offer a raise or promotion. Chances are, you didn’t take your decision to leave lightly and you’ll stick to your choice, but take the possibility of another offer into consideration. That said, do not leverage your departure as a threat for a pay increase. This will not be appreciated and will most likely backfire.
Give Proper Notice.
The standard time for notification when you are leaving a job is two weeks. But for some jobs, as much as six weeks can be required. Check your employee handbook to see if there are any guidelines to follow. If there aren’t, try to give your supervisor an advanced notice of at least two weeks.
Write a Resignation Letter.
A formal letter of resignation should include the date of your last day of employment, reason for leaving (keep it professional), and a thank you for the opportunity to work for the company. Also, include you willingness to help with the transition period, whether it is training the new employee or making a list of your job duties. You may not be asked to, but the act of offering demonstrates, even in the end, your loyalty and character.
Leave on a Good Note.
Be professional and diligently work up until the last day you’ve agreed upon. On your final day, write thank you cards to your supervisor and your co-workers. You’re respectfulness can create a great final impression – one that’s as important as your first impression.
Even if you’ve struggled with the dilemma of leaving your job, you made the decision to go, so don’t burn bridges in your departure. Make sure things are in order before you say goodbye.
Have you experienced a former co-worker leaving on a sour note? How have you made clean breaks in the past? Post your stories in the comment section below.