Two Weeks Notice – The Art of Quitting Your Job Gracefully
September 9, 2008
Quitting your job can be quite a liberating experience. The weight of “all things crappy” in your job is lifted off your shoulders and you feel as though you can finally breath again. Yet, no matter how bad your job seems at the time you leave, it’s wise to quit your job gracefully and not burn your bridges.
My Two Weeks Notice
After almost nine years of working for the same group, I had a long talk with my boss yesterday where I gave my two weeks notice and let him know I was taking a better job for a lower salary. Of course I didn’t word it in that way, he asked about the reasons I was leaving and I was honest yet tactful.
The main reason for exiting cordially is that you never know when you’ll need a job or a reference in the future so it’s smart to keep the relationship you built intact. In my case it was also because I’ve become friends with my boss and many of my co-workers. However from a purely career-centric point of view, leaving gracefully keeps your professional network intact should you need to call on it sometime down the road.
Here are a few things to consider as you leave your job for greener pastures:
Give Two Weeks Notice
In many companies you’re required to give the official notice and go through an exit interview otherwise you forfeit being paid out accrued benefits such as vacation days. Some companies have a policy that you can’t be re-hired in the future if you don’t give proper notice before leaving.
Wrap it Up
It’s really tempting to wash your hands of everything you’ve been working on and cruise through the last two weeks but if you dump a load of work on your co-workers or boss that will be the last thing they remember about you. If you come looking for a job or referral in the future that last bitter memory will likely be the first to pop up.
Let people know where all the bodies are buried. Train your co-workers on necessary tasks and document important processes. If you don’t do this you may be getting phone calls and emails for weeks or months after you leave your job. Plus your co-workers will really appreciate the documentation.
Try and avoid the sinking ship syndrome. When someone leaves a group, especially if they’re in a leadership or key operational role, the people left behind often ask themselves whether they’ll be the last ones left on a sinking ship.
- Why are you leaving?
- What will happen once you’re gone?
- Is the group or company in trouble?
- Will they have to work overtime to make up for your absence?
- Should they start looking for a new job as well?
These thoughts will likely go through people’s heads in a time of change but you can help calm their fears by the way you handle your exit. Announce your departure personally to your core team, the people you work with on a daily basis, so that they hear it from you instead of the rumor mill. Tactfully explain your reasons for leaving, don’t bad mouth the company or other co-workers. Be ready to answer questions about transitioning responsibilities and shifting project work.
Smile On the Way Out
Those poor suckers are still stuck working there and you’re moving on! So smile and be friendly on the way out the door. You can’t help but feel bad for your co-workers as you leave for bigger and better things. If you can quit gracefully and leave as a friend it will be better off for your career in the long run.
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All posts by Ben Edwards