5 things to do when quitting your job

Posted August 1

Reasons why you want to quit your job may vary — maybe you have a better-paying job lined up, maybe you want to stay home and take care of your kids, or maybe you finally just had it and want to run away and join the circus.

Regardless of the motive, it’s a task that deserves no less attention than what you would give to getting a job. So here are five things to do.

1. Hand in your resignation to supervisor first

And the human resources department second, according to Forbes. It’s a matter of courtesy, as “most managers don’t want to hear from HR that they’re losing one of their staff,” according to Forbes.

It’s best to do this in person as well, as it “shows respect, self-confidence and that you have strong interpersonal skills,” according to U.S. News.

Business Insider even has basic scripts of how a conversation with your boss about quitting should go. Keep it concise and precise, instead of dancing around the subject, and ignore any temptation to vent rather than explain, according to the Art of Manliness.

“Any way you slice it, when you’re quitting a job, you’re sort of firing your employer,” wrote Brett and Kate McKay for The Art of Manliness. “The wrong way is to burn your bridges and leave a bad taste behind.”

2. Give the right amount of notice.

Don’t give any less than two weeks, advised Harvard Business Review. And it’s not a bad idea to offer to work even longer, if you haven’t committed to a start date. Especially if you’re a higher-up in your company, and might need to train your replacement.

Still, too much notice can be bad, and it’s not recommended that you give more than three months.

“The moment you tell people you’re leaving, you’re perceived as an outsider,” Daniel Gulati, coauthor of "Passion & Purpose," told Harvard Business Review.

3. Practice transparency, discretion and diligence

You don’t have to say where you’re going after you’ve resigned. But in the age of social media, Harvard Business Review suggested that you take control of your narrative and be honest about your future plans.

But Forbes advises against over-talking about your future plans, and stay focused on your work until the end.

“Some people tend to think they can slack off,” executive career coach Tina Nicolai said to Forbes. “If you are still earning a paycheck, you are still expected to perform your duties.”

4. Handle the exit interview with grace

You’ve come so far. Don’t slip up now by talking trash about your boss, warned Forbes. Instead try complimenting the company, if you can remain genuine and not have it come off as empty flattery, it suggested. If not, go for harmless honesty instead of brutal honesty.

“The exit interview is not the time to give the feedback you wished you had given while you were a full-time employee,” Len Schlesinger, a professor at Harvard Business School, told Harvard Business Review. “First, you’re not guaranteed anonymity; it’s a small world. Second, your feedback is not going to change the organization.”

5. Depart on a high note of good will

Tell co-workers you’ve worked with for years so they don’t feel left out of your consideration, advised U.S. News. Write thank-you notes for anyone who personally helped you on your way.

And make sure, it continued, to leave a good impression for co-workers to fondly remember you by.

Email:, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.


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