Best Way to Quit Your Job Gracefully

Time to leave! Time to move on! You’re quitting your job. Maybe you had a great experience. Then you’re probably nervous and sad about telling your boss you’re leaving. Maybe the experience, well, wasn’t so hot, and you’re dying to say “I’m outta here, you jerk, and I hope I never see this stupid place again!” and to slam the door on the way out.

Um, that last one is not recommended. Hold yourself back. And listen to Timi Gleason, an executive and career coach who used to be a human resources director (so she knows a lot about hiring and firing). Here’s how to quit with style, grace, and a sense of professionalism.

Quit Job Gracefully Best Way to Quit Your Job Gracefully

Tell your supervisor first. Would you want to hear important news through the grapevine? No. You want to be kept in the loop. Bosses want to be treated supportively, too.

Either hand your boss a note as you tell him or her that you are giving two weeks notice, or pull him aside, “Jerry, can you give me two minutes? I need to update you on something important. I’m go­ing to have to quit (or resign) my job here (insert a reason if you want to). I don’t want to put you in a tight spot for help so I am giv­ing you notice. Would you like two weeks, or can you find someone to replace me sooner?”

Just figure your boss may be concerned and disappointed about having to replace you, and be ready to treat him with respect and maturity. You’d be surprised how bosses feel when they lose an employee and have only a short period of time to find another.

Give a reason for leaving. Do this if you are quitting for rea­sons other than you hate it there, such as: “. . . to a better paying job,” “. . . for advancement purposes,” or “. . . to move to another area to attend school or be with family.”

Give two weeks’ notice. It is standard practice to give two weeks’ notice to employers before you leave. This gives them time to find someone else to replace you. Consider the fact that they will have to put an ad in the newspaper on a weekend, and then inter­view and select someone.

Give a letter of resignation. The letter only needs to be one to three sentences stating your intentions, including the date of your last workday. Be courteous and professional in the letter. Be sure to put a date on the letter and to keep track of conversa­tions and the dates that follow your resignation. Keep a copy of letters. Give letters to bosses in person or to their assistant. Leaving resignation letters on a desk isn’t a fair or a dependable sys-tem. If you give your employer two weeks’ notice and she lets you go early, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance under some circumstances.

Make arrangements to collect your last paycheck. In most states, employers owe you your paycheck within 72 hours of quit­ting. If you give two weeks’ notice (or more than 72 hours notice), they owe you your check at the time you leave.

Don’t burn bridges. This means forget the “I’m outta here, you jerk, and I hope I never see this stupid place again!” (Door slam!) Do the right thing. Protect yourself by creating a simple paper trail, and don’t lose your cool. (This is probably one of those times you may not want to work an additional two weeks, but before you decide to leave them high and dry, see if you can work it out peacefully.)

When you quit a job, consider the fact that a future employer might ask you why you left it. And they may check with your old boss to ask whether your reason is accurate. But often, they are only looking for a good answer that makes sense and indicates that you were being responsible to your previous company.

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