How To Quit Your Job Gracefully

So you've decided the next step in your career is somewhere other than where you work currently. Congratulations! Exciting times are ahead. Until you realize you now have to give notice to your current employer, eeeek.

No worries, you can leave your gig in a manner that is both professional and respectful. I am going to outline the steps below. If followed, you can leave your reputation intact.

1. Get everything squared up with your new gig. finalize all the details and negotiations. Sign an offer letter or employment contract? Benefits package?  Start date? If starting a business; do you have your business plan created? lease underway? Inventory ordered? You get the idea.

2. Plan out how you will transfer your work and responsibilities to another person or department in the organization.  Make a list of recommendations.

3. Create a resignation letter with a final date of employment. Keep it brief and kind. If you spent any length of time over a year at a company, chances are you have had a good enough work environment to speak highly about something.

4. Plan out how you are going to tell your boss you are leaving. Tell them in person, be truthful, and always keep it positive and respectful.

5. Negotiate any employment contracts you may have signed. If you are planning on breaking any of the agreed terms, be sure to have a conversation about it with your employer before taking things to a legal level. These contracts are often just in place to weed out non-serious candidates from the organization and to protect its employees from potential financial hardships. Employers are happy to negotiate and save each other legal fees if you are honest from the beginning about your intentions. Plus it's law 101 to try to work out any legal issues first before wasting money and court time.

6. Do tell your manager first. Discuss how you will tell the team members you work with. Its recommended you tell them yourself. Keep it positive, professional, and drama free. Leave on your best behavior and on a positive note. 

7. Never take confidential company documents, information or databases with you.

8. Avoid speaking negatively about the company, its owners, managers, or the people that work there.  Especially if you've been a long-time employee. People are smart enough to know that if you stayed with a company for years, it had to be a good enough place to work, with good people therein. Plus, you never know when you may need a reference for a job, loan, etc. If you have not burned bridges you will have no challenges when the time comes. Also, many career opportunities come about through relationships you've maintained, leave the door open.

9. Finally, update your social media and resume.

Leaving a job can be stressful but it's also exciting to begin a new journey. Plan your exit, be truthful about your departure, negotiate your contracts, and talk highly of the people you work with. Following these steps will allow you to leave an organization respectfully, with grace and your reputation in tact.

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