But one thing that never comes up is the flip side – how to leave a job. That is, how to leave it decently without slamming a door on your way out.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and now that I don’t have any employees I figured this is as good a time as ever to share my POV.
There are many reasons to leave a job including: you’ve been headhunted and offered a better opportunity, you’re griping more than usual, you’re going back to school, you’ve been-there-done-that, or you dream of trying something new.
Or maybe you find the environment toxic and stressful and hate going in every day. If that’s the case, you need to be honest with yourself and your employer and take positive action as soon as you can.
So… you’ve made your decision to start job hunting.
Here are five things you should do:
- Talk to your manager and let them know how you feel. Do it early, as soon as you make the decision even if you haven't lined up your next gig. No one gets fired for saying they’re looking. And that gives your boss a chance to talk to you and try to fix the situation. At the very least they can start planning for your departure and will resent you less.
- People: we know what it means when someone talks on their cell phone by the elevator every day, dresses up to go to a doctor’s appointment or suddenly has a lot of emergency repair issues around the house that takes them away from work at the last minute. Schedule unpaid time off for your interviews (and try to book them on the same day).
- When you do give notice, be present in mind and body for the last week or two in the office. Don’t just coast, that’s demoralizing to everyone who’s staying. Do your work, clean up ALL the loose ends (even if that means staying late) and train people well. Leave with everything crossed off your to do list.
- Don’t be a jerk and make your colleagues feel bad about staying. This is not a game of follow the leader. Don’t let your guilt push you into a silly argument to justify your decision. And don’t countdown your days – nobody likes that. Just because you’re going doesn't mean you’ve left.
- And one last word of advice: they will survive – and likely thrive – without you! Really. Everyone’s replaceable. Even the boss. Think about that to give yourself some humility. You’re just leaving a job, not making a statement that will change the course of the world.
It’s not hard to walk away with class, good relationships and an open door. It’s a small world and you never know when you’ll find yourself on the outside, trying to get back in.
Do you have any advice on how to make a graceful exit?