Say Goodbye to Your Job Gracefully

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Exit your job gracefullyOkay, you’ve given your notice and you can not wait to get out the door. But there is a way to a right way to leave a job and a wrong way. 

It might sound cliche, but when you leave a job you never want to burn any bridges. “With the frequency of people changing jobs as well as the explosion of social media networking over the last ten years, burning a bridge is never a good idea. You never know when you will cross paths with someone from a former job. No matter how angry you may be when leaving a job, it’s in your professional best interest to simply bite your tongue and move on with a smile, it simply isn’t worth it,” says Bill Fish, founder and president of ReputationManagement.com.

Here are some “Don’ts”

–Calling it quits early. “While it may be enticing to just decide that you are not going to come into the office ever again, it lacks in professionalism and there is no true closure,” says Fish.

–Bad attitude won’t cut it.
“Some people get some bit of satisfaction by saying everything they have ever wanted to say to their boss as well as their colleagues. They figure it is their last chance to get everything off of their chest in a stressful situation and they just lose it. It usually takes around four hours for them to regret everything they said,” Fish points out.

–Not giving your all. “Some people give their two week notice and then lose any semblance of motivation and then don’t do a single thing on the way out. Many times you are asked to train someone, and when you don’t follow through with your duties for your last two weeks, it rubs people the wrong way,” notes Fish.

Forgetting your contacts. “Without acknowledging/working to maintain any personal relationships you’ve built,” says career coach Jane Scudder, owner Never Settle Coaching. “We spend a lot of time at our jobs. Even if you’ve had a job you’ve hated more than likely there’s a been a person or two who you’ve bonded with at least in a small way. Don’t underestimate or disregard the strength of these bonds or the importance of these relationships. Sure there’s a lot going on as you’re leaving a company but as people transition they don’t often focus enough time and energy on preserving the relationships they’ve built. If you’re close with a coworker make sure you tell her personally that you’re leaving and try to go out to lunch or grab a coffee together.”

Dos: Make an Exit Great

–Prepare the job for life after you. “Offer to train a replacement.Take initiative to help on your way out,” says Fish. And get everyone up to speed.  “Brief your manager on any outstanding issues. Be sure to keep quality notes of what will need to be done in your absence,” adds Fish.

–Don’t gloat. “Yes, most people will likely be excited for you, but bear in mind that they’re staying and probably picking up some of your slack. Be empathetic and aware of this,” says Scudder.

–Give warning. “Give a sufficient notice, but be prepared to walk. It’s a nice professional courtesy to give two weeks notice, but many companies have a policy that when you give your notice it is your last day, so be prepared to be walked out,” says Fish.

–Say goodbye with class. “Make a point to shake everyone’s hand and thank them,” says Fish. “A simple smile and kind word on your way off to your next adventure could be the relationship you need for another job or deal down the road.” Adds Scudder, Say goodbye with class. “Send a thoughtful exit note to those you wish to tell and stay in touch with. Share whatever personal contact info you’d like your former co-workers to have as well as links to social media that you want to stay connected on. (Tip: do so a few hours before you lose access to email so you can field responses that people might send to your work email),” says Scudder.

Don’t be negative. “If you’re leaving a bad environment more than likely other people want to get out too. Don’t harp on how negative your soon-to-be former company is. If it’s a great company that you’re leaving, acknowledge that and be open about how difficult a choice this might have been,” says Scudder.

Stay in reach. “Provide contact information if someone needs to get in touch. Make yourself available after you leave in case something arises that you could help with,” says Fish.

Do you best to leave a job on a great note. “Be the best version of yourself during this time and act the way you want to be remembered since for some of your colleagues these will be the last, and perhaps the strongest, memories they have of you,” concludes Scudder.