Quitting with Style

By: John Hutchins, Vice President of Client Services

Quitting a job, especially a long term position, can be packed with emotion.  You may feel guilty, elated, rebellious, scared and excited all at the same time.  Those emotions are normal, but don’t allow them to control your behavior when you quit your job.  To the best of your ability, remove all emotion from the interactions with your employer.  Focus on being professional, accommodating and gracious.

Being professional includes:

  • Providing two weeks of notice. Two weeks of notice to your employer is the unwritten rule and the two weeks should actually be two full weeks – it should not include you taking vacation time or calling in sick.  It is, however, the employer’s choice whether to keep you the full two weeks or let you go sooner.  Don’t take offense if they let you go early.  In some positions, it just doesn’t make sense to keep the employee around once they’ve given notice.
  • Communicating appropriately. The first person who should know you’re quitting is your direct supervisor.  Your notice, if at all possible, should be communicated in-person and should be documented with a resignation letter.  Keep it short, sweet and professional.  Don’t let your emotions take control.  Telling your coworkers, even the friends with whom you work, should be controlled by your employer.  They may or may not want you to talk to your coworkers about it – that is the employer’s choice, not yours.

Being accommodating includes:

  • Completing assigned tasks. Upon giving your notice, your employer may ask you to document your responsibilities, transition tasks to coworkers or even perform other work you wouldn’t normally be asked to do.  Within reason, of course, you should do your best to complete all tasks assigned during the last two weeks.  Your leaving will likely create a hole in the organization.  Your goal should be to make that hole as small as possible before you leave.

Being gracious includes:

  • Focusing on the positive. Every job has its positives and negatives.  For some odd reason, many people think that after they give their notice, they have a free pass to let it all hang out and tell their boss and coworkers what they really think of them.  This is a huge mistake.  Instead, think of the good things that happened (there has to be something) and thank your boss for the opportunity.  Keep it positive and leave your employer feeling as good as possible about your time at the company.

Quitting a job is typically not an easy decision or a comfortable situation.  Employers don’t always handle it as well as they should, but you should do your best to leave on good terms.  Remember, you can’t control how others react to you, but you can control how you react to others.  When you leave an employer, do it in a way that would make your mother proud.

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