How to Leave a Job on Great Terms

Date: November 2, 2016

Though you might be excited for a new job opportunity or just grateful for leaving an old one, departing gracefully from your job is one of the best things you can do for your professional future. No matter how many enemies you have there or how happy you are to walk out, exit like a professional. Here's how.

Give Your Boss Appropriate Notice

You don't want the boss to hear the news at the water fountain that you're quitting, so behave professionally and tell her first. Make an appointment or stop by her office to tell her privately that you're moving on. From there, it's up to your boss to decide whom to tell next and how.

When you break the news, assure your boss of your intention to do everything you can for a smooth transition. And then live up to that promise. Don't try to weasel out of the standard two weeks' notice, and if you can, offer to stay longer to help train your replacement.

 

Be Transparent but Modest

Boasting to colleagues about your great new position and all the perks you'll have with your new company looks bad. But being secretive and, especially, telling different stories to different people looks even worse.

Be honest and straightforward about your future plans. You aren't legally obligated to tell all, but given the technology-connected career universe, your former colleagues will find out about what you'll be doing at your new position when you post it on LinkedIn, anyway. By telling your own story, you get to tell it your way. Modest honesty is also the easiest way to keep former coworkers on your team.

 

Work Until You Leave

The end is in sight and you are crossing the days off the calendar, but give your company a full day's work every day until you leave. Don't slack off, come in late or dress down.

How you handle the last few weeks can make all the difference in how you are viewed by your former company, according to Sara Kraw, a Human Resources Specialist with the state of Iowa in Des Moines. "Talk with your supervisor about how you can best use your time," Craw says. "You'll need to organize your files, draft memos on your projects and probably help train your replacement. Once you are gone, you want them to remember your professionalism, not bad-mouth you."

 

Don't Be Too Honest in the Exit Interview

You're on your way out – that's why they call it the exit interview. But don't use it as an opportunity to tell the employer all the things that are wrong with the office. Don't vent or get emotional. After all, the world is a small place, and you're better off staying on good terms with everyone. Any changes made in response to your critiques won't help you, anyway.

In fact, be kind and generous to all coworkers, shaking hands and offering appreciation and gratitude. Even if you've been antagonistic with some of your colleagues, now's the perfect time to stand on higher ground. And it may come back to help you; you never know whom you'll meet again or in what circumstances.

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