Quitting your job can be a stressful process. You may have all the best intentions when leaving but without knowing how to effectively communicate your decision to move on, you can unintentionally hurt your career and your reputation.
Here are some ways you can prepare to leave your job without losing power over your career.
1. Tell your boss first.
Many people overlook this major step. You end up telling your work buddy, assuming he or she understands the importance of confidential information then before you know it, the entire office knows. Don’t put yourself in a situation where the ‘word on the street’ is you are job-seeking or in discussions with another organization. Let your immediate manager/supervisor know first that you are moving on. The ultimate betrayal to an employer is finding out from someone else that their valuable employee is about to quit. Telling your boss first is giving common courtesy and respect for those you work with, especially your superiors.
2.Leave a road map.
I remember having my first office job hating it when people left and we had to figure out what to do because they walked away with all their information in tow. I became frustrated with re-inventing the wheel so while I worked there I developed a guide. I would update that guide as things changed and new information was learned. I would then use that guide for training new-hires and improving processes during my employment. Once I gave my notice I felt so much better knowing I left something behind for the next person to use as a resource. I’d rather leave knowing I’m setting the next person up for success than feeling guilty about making a strategic career decision to move on. Till this day, I still run into employees from that company who tell me the “Mary Blake (maiden name) directory” is still being used to train associates.
3. Give proper notice.
At the very least, you should always give a two-week notice to your employer. See my article Six Reasons Why Your Two Week Notice is Important. When you give proper notice it not only helps you to prepare others to take over your duties, it also shows the employer you have integrity and the best intentions for their success even though you are moving on.
4. Read your paperwork!
Remember that paperwork you signed when you were hired? Yeah, I’d go read over that if I were you. Check for non-compete clauses or non-solicitation clauses that may interfere with you working for another organization or launching your own business.
5. Continue to deliver great work.
Many workers tend to slack off once they’ve given notice. You start thinking “Well hey, I’m leaving here anyway so who cares!” Guess what, someone cares. Those colleagues of yours who have to pick up your work-load, that boss who has to continue giving client’s reassurance your accounts will be handled appropriately– yes, they care. The way you perform within your exit timeline is telling of your character and can impact your future growth.
6. Show your appreciation.
There is always a learning experience in everything we do. From senior management to lower-level associates; each person you interact with at work has some value. Let them hear it from you how they have impacted your career and what they have taught you. Even if all your experiences weren’t the best, you still learned from them and that is worthy of acknowledgement.
7. Be honest.
The worst thing you can do is lie to a current employer about where you are going or what you will be doing or why you are leaving. Don’t say you’re moving away to go live with your third cousin in Bangladesh when you’re really going to a competitor or starting your own company down the street. It’s just not a good business decision to be dishonest when leaving.Your employer should know the truth. Use your exit interview as a knowledge sharing opportunity. If the managers are too overbearing – say that. If the enviornment is negative or the work is not challenging enough – speak up. Don’t miss your opportunity to have candid communication. Even though it didn’t work out for you, you could impact the future of someone else with your feedback on why you are leaving.
How you leave a relationship is just as important as how you begin it. People always say first impressions are what make or break relationships but I believe it’s also all those things you do in between and how you end a relationship that is most memorable to the people who have shared their time with you.
*Photo Credit: firemeibegyou.com
This article is also featured on LinkedInPulse. You can find it here.