Quitting a job is never easy no matter what your reasons. It can be a nerve-racking experience fraught with emotions, but it’s important to leave on a professional note so that you can start your next endeavor on the right foot.
Probably the most important piece of advice is not to resign on impulse or when angry. Although it made for a great story, don’t pull a Steven Slater : a JetBlue flight attendant who quit his job cursing at his passengers, grabbing a beer, and dramatically exiting the plane by jumping down the emergency slide.
Make sure you write a resignation letter. Let your employer know how much you enjoyed working for them, but that it’s time to move on. Articulate your reasons and frame them in terms of what you need at this time in your life. Resist the urge to preach or point fingers and get off your soapbox, this is not the time to be negative.
Let your direct manager know privately; don’t send a company-wide email blast. Marching bands… definitely out.
Give 2 weeks’ notice (unless otherwise stated in your employment contract). This will allow plenty of time for your employer to get coverage for your responsibilities.
Don’t slack off during your last 2 weeks of work; wrap-up loose ends and be helpful. Participate in knowledge transfer, whether that means training others or documenting relevant information that may be needed once you’re gone.
On your last day remember to return all company property and files and make sure to leave your workspace neat and tidy.
Talk to HR about any unpaid vacation, salary or commissions that may be owing to you.
And finally, don’t forget to say good-bye to your co-workers. If you can maintain a working relationship with your employer by freelancing or consulting by all means do so.
Before you turn in your resignation remember these tips and resign as professionally and gracefully as possible.
For a chuckle, enjoy this video as an example of what not to do. Keep your eyes on the lion on the left.