There’s no shame in abandoning a job that doesn’t work for you anymore. In fact, it can be the healthiest thing you can do. Seeking out fresh opportunities keeps your career moving forward.
However, you need to think about how you want to complete your transition from one phase of your career to another. Leaving a job behind doesn’t mean you abruptly abandon your responsibilities. Rather, you should make an effort to leave in as professional a manner as possible.
This can have important implications for the rest of your career. Leaving a job on the right terms lets you:
- Preserve your ability to return to that company at some point later in your career
- Maintain relationships with your former colleagues, who could offer networking help down the line
- Build your reputation as a reliable, professional employee
These are the practical, selfish benefits you can gain. It’s also important to remember that a well-orchestrated exit represents the right thing to do. That way, you avoid leaving your former supervisors and coworkers in the lurch, saving them from unnecessary headaches.
With all this in mind, what’s the best way to leave a job professionally? Here are some tips to make your departure as easy as possible:
How to Best Leave a Position in a Professional Manner
Make a Plan
At one point or another, everyone has fantasized about quitting in an epic fashion. Making a big speech. Telling off your boss. Walking off in a flash of bombastic grandeur.
In reality, this never works out. Quitting in a huff never comes off as monumental. Instead, you just look petty. Plus, you’re now suddenly unemployed with no backup provisions.
Rather than play out this reverie, stay practical. If you’ve reached the end of your time at a company, work out the details of your exit ahead of time. Conduct your departure in a calm, calculated way, protecting your career and your reputation along the way.
Communicate with Those Around You
Once you decide to leave, it’s important to keep all the key players in the loop. This starts with determining how to share the information that you’ve chosen to move on. Talk to your boss first and find out if there is a formal process. From there, discuss the matter with HR and follow their lead in your next steps.
As part of this, compose a formal resignation letter. Even as an exercise, it will help you collect your thoughts and give you a guide for how you want to discuss the matter with others. Meanwhile, it can provide the first step in the paperwork process of ending the relationship with your company.
Once HR and your supervisors have informed the rest of the staff, you’ll need to coordinate your exit. This means discussing the situation with those around you. Figure out how you want to frame your departure when talking to your coworkers. Remember to stay positive and constructive throughout the process.
Don’t Slack Off as Your End Date Nears
When you decide to leave a job, your mind naturally turns to your future opportunities. The clock is ticking for your current position. Your future lies with your next adventure, making it easy to lose interest in your soon-to-be-former employer.
However, you need to stay focused on your present tasks. The process might not have much long-term importance for your career. However, you still want to leave behind a strong impression on your supervisors and coworkers. This will maximize your networking opportunities in the future and ensure you nurture the best reputation possible.
Make the Transition as Smooth as Possible
Do what you can to leave your soon-to-be-former company better off as you depart. Work with everyone within the organization to ease the transition. This effort includes steps like:
- Give as much notice as possible.
- Complete any pending projects, if you can.
- Work with HR and your team to ensure a smooth transition.
- Train your replacement, if asked.
- Participate in an exit interview.
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