So you’ve decided to quit your job? Whatever the reason for leaving, it isn’t always easy to leave gracefully. Many of us don’t like endings, even if it is a ‘positive’ ending and it can bring up all kinds of emotions. So regardless of the situation, how do you leave your role gracefully and in a way that makes you feel proud?
Obviously, this is the first thing you need to do when leaving your job. You will need to put this in writing in the form of a resignation letter. Keep it short, professional and positive, whatever the circumstance. You may want to let close colleagues know informally, but ensure that word doesn’t get out before you have a chance to tell your boss personally!
Your notice period will obviously depend on what is written in your contract so if you need to leave earlier than your contract states you will need to negotiate with your boss and vice versa. Being fair to the company you are leaving and making an effort to help them with the transition will reflect well on you in that job and your new job.
Hold Your Tongue
Believe me, if you are leaving because you have had enough of the manager from hell or the terrible working conditions, I know how tempting it is to want mouth off or get your own back somehow. However, it really is better to rise above anything that’s happened and be the bigger person. Telling people what you really think of them may be tempting in the heat of the moment but you never know when you might meet them again or when you might need a reference.
It is human nature to take your foot off the pedal to some extent when you know a job is coming to an end but it really is worth trying to do your job to the best of your abilities till you leave and handing over properly. If the reason for leaving isn’t amicable, you might think you can let your boss know exactly what you think of them or the company by slacking off, but it will be someone else (and probably not your boss) who will end up picking up the pieces you leave behind. Leave others with a good last impression of you.
Focus on the Positive
What have you learned? What skills have you developed? It can be easy to take for granted what you have learned, and you may even think you haven’t learned anything! Look back at when you started the job and compare it to where you are now.
Though not directly related to the job, I realized I had become a lot more assertive because of working for an unprofessional manager a few years ago. Not an experience I would recommend, but I did recognize that I had developed as a person because of being in this situation. Any situation can be a learning experience if we let it.
It is worth asking for an ‘exit interview’ or end of job appraisal (if you are not offered one). It can be a powerful way to tie things up, look at your achievements and see how far you have come before you move on. Using this as a tool for your own development rather than an opportunity to trash the company will benefit you in the long run.
Many people write farewell emails to their colleagues and again this is worth doing with dignity and professionalism. Keep it short and positive and leave a good last impression.
It is human nature to remember the end of anything rather than the beginning, so whatever the situation when you leave a job, try to behave in a way you will be proud of and that will reflect well on you. Leaving a job in a way that you are proud of will help you to feel more positive in your next endeavour.