5 Essential tips for quitting your job the right way

So you’ve mind up your mind – you’re going to quit your job. Whatever the reason for the decision, you need to leave a job on great terms. If you hate your job and can’t wait to get out, it can be tempting to ignore protocol and simply disappear. But this immediate reaction could be a big mistake. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but it could make your last few weeks at work a bit of a nightmare.

Here are five tips on the right way to quit a job – and ensure that you leave a good impression.

Abide by your contract

 If your contract says that you need to give one month’s notice before leaving, then make sure you stick to it. If you sign a contract to start a new job sooner than that, then it’s going to leave a bad impression, not to mention stress out your line manager as they try to replace you and train someone new. Quitting suddenly, without any notice or explanation, will leave you without a reference and may affect future employment prospects.

Tell your boss that you’re leaving before you tell anyone else. The last thing you want is for your news to be spread around the office…and passed on to your boss that way.

Also, giving ample notice will be much appreciated by your boss. It shows consideration and a willingness to complete your remaining projects or tasks.

Write a simple and grateful resignation letter

As well as sticking to your contract, it’s important to write an effective resignation letter. Firstly, make it simple. There’s no need to reel off everything you’ve learnt in the job that you’re thankful for or details about why you’re leaving.

You can briefly mention your reason for leaving the company – be it a career change or a switch to freelancing – or you can be more general and say you’re leaving for personal reasons.

In your resignation letter, be polite. Mention that you will aim to make the transition period as smooth as possible and to help with any preparations as necessary, such as training your replacement.

Showing your gratitude for the opportunity goes a long way. Tell your manager what you are genuinely thankful for and how they’ve helped you. If you hate your manager, still try to find at least one positive thing to thank them for!

Work solidly during your notice period

Getting a great reference from your manager will obviously depend on how you’ve performed during your time at the job – your level of dedication, achievements, results, teamwork, attitude, development, and so on. But if you really want to maximise your chances of getting a good reference, then it’s crucial not to slack off during your notice period.

Fulfil all of your duties and responsibilities as you normally would. You can also impress your manager by going the extra mile, helping them to ensure that they’re not going to be overburdened with work due to you leaving.

When your manager writes your reference, they will most likely have your most recent work performance in mind. This is why you want to show dedication and co-operation as you work through your notice period.

Behave respectfully

Even if you can’t stand your manager or fellow co-workers, resist any temptation to say or do anything negative before you leave. You don’t want to burn bridges. Avoid boasting about your new job, travel plans, or excitement about leaving the job. This will just make your co-workers feel resentful, bitter, jealous, and irritated.

Interact with your team in a calm, respectful and dignified way. You might want to reconnect with them in the future, either for personal or career-related reasons, so you want to maintain positive relationships with them.

Once you’ve handed in your resignation letter to your boss, they might send an email round to let your co-workers know about your departure. But if they don’t, then you should announce the news to your colleagues. It would be a bit unsettling for them to find out you’re leaving without much notice. You want to prepare your co-workers for the transition, show your appreciation for them, and ensure you stay in touch after you leave.

It’s usually recommended to send a mass farewell email to your colleagues, thanking them for their help and support, and letting them know what your next steps will be. At the end of your email, give your relevant contact information, such as a personal email address or LinkedIn profile, so that they can reach you.

Tie up any loose ends

 The last essential step in leaving a job is tying up any loose ends. This means replying to all of your unread emails from clients and updating them about your departure. It could also involve emailing your line manager any documents, files, or information they might need. If your line manager doesn’t need to you stay on to train your replacement, they might ask if you could create some instructions for them to follow.

Don’t leave any rubbish, files, or items on your desk. Clean everything up, take what you need, throw away anything you don’t and organise whatever’s left.

On your final day in the office, end on a positive note. You want to feel confident that you did your job to the best of your ability. This day may also be an important transition for you, so make it a memorable one.

Sam Woolfe is particularly interested in self-development, psychology, mental health, and the future of work. Most of all, though, Sam is passionate about helping people find work that is meaningful and fulfilling. You can follow him on Twitter and find more of his work at www.samwoolfe.com