Pattie Lovett-Reid: How to quit your job without burning bridges
There may come a point when you simply know that it’s time to go – when it’s time to move on to a new position or a new career.
There is a natural tendency to always assume the grass will be greener on the other side. And it may be. Sometimes just the act of looking for a new position may cause you to pause, and that’s okay. It is all part of the process.
But before you jump in with both feet and slam the current door behind you, here are a few considerations.
1. You know it’s time to go when you’re moving toward something as opposed to away from something. In others words, you are excited about where you are going rather than complaining about where you have been.
2. Once the decision is made to make a move, always finish strong. I've seen people stop working once they resign. Even worse is when someone decides to leave without a job offer, and their performance starts to deteriorate. If in fact you don't get a new job and your performance is compromised, your boss will sense it immediately. That can be bad news, as you could find yourself looking for a job sooner than you thought.
3. It’s always a good idea to thank the people you work with. Exit in the most positive way possible. You shook hands on the way in so be sure to shake hands on the way out.
4. After you leave your current job, don’t speak negatively about your former co-workers or company. Industries are small, word gets around, and no one wants an employee who is disrespectful of the past.
Once you have notified the boss you intend to leave, you may be asked to do an exit interview. This is an opportunity to give honest and balanced feedback. However, if you are entirely negative about your time at the company, it may not be taken seriously. You might want to consider a 3:2 ratio. Three positive comments for every two that are negative. I repeat: it is all about being honest and balanced.
Finally, you may want to stay in touch with co-workers who have become friends and that's okay. However, keep in mind they still work for the company you left and it can't be all about you. Relationships go two ways. Also recognize before you try to recruit customers or clients, you likely have a fiduciary responsibility to your previous employer and could be held liable. So if you are thinking about poaching, seek legal advice before you do so.
The best way to not burn a bridge when it’s time to go is to tell your boss first, give lots of notice, and offer to help train up your replacement. You just never know when the next new and exciting opportunity could open up at the company you are leaving.
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