Getting a job is easy. You’ve got your experience and qualifications behind you, you’re driven, showered, and on your best behavior. Everybody is desperately hoping to be impressed. All you have to do is show up and hope that nobody better just left the room. And even if you do fail – unless you fail super, super-spectacularly – there’s no damage done. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. See it as networking practice.
Leaving a job ain’t so easy.
Sure, tipping a cup of coffee over your boss and walking out the door takes less time than filling in yet another identikit application form – but that’s not so much ‘leaving your job’ as ‘sabotaging the rest of your career.’ Leaving a job well requires tact, timing, and grace.
Mess it up and you don’t know when it will come back to bite you – when you meet again with your scorned ex-colleagues, or your hot-headed reputation precedes you to the next job interview.
But did you know that even leaving on apparently good terms can also wind up badly? You may be all smiles and goodbye chocolates, but if your boss feels you’ve betrayed her or you’ve abandoned the team just when they were depending on you, the hurt can cut a lot deeper. Simply put: think before you quit.
Wait until the end of that project. Work until your notice is up. Work a bit longer than the minimum, if necessary, to show the new guy the ropes. Make sure your clients or regular customers know what’s going on and who will handle them when you’re gone. This way, you’re going out on a favor – and people will notice you went the extra mile.
Think about your strategy, too. Your boss should be the first to know, and you should tell her face-to-face, before you send a letter. And about that letter: this isn’t your chance to win a Pulitzer. This is a formality, and it may stay on record. Don’t go to great lengths to explain your departure, or use it as a chance to settle old scores. Be polite and wrap it up in three or four lines. The rest can be discussed face-to-face.
Don’t let your game drop on the last few days before you leave. This is your chance to set your reputation in stone. Don’t be remembered as the guy who gave up – be remembered as the legend who moved on up.
Looking for a game-plan to get out of your job? Work through it step-by-step with this new visual guide to quitting work.