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How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges

how to quit your job
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I am one of a rare breed – an employee who is completely rehirable at every job she’s quit, assuming I’d be okay with going backwards in my career. (Well, except for one. My two-week reign of shame at McDonald’s ended less than favorably when they presented me with my second schedule, and I told the tile floor I wouldn’t be coming back. Not next week, not tomorrow, not ever.)

Not only is there something comforting in knowing that if I needed the money because of some tragic incident, I could go back and fold shirts for ungrateful housemoms who like to bargain shop or take a stool sample from a cat while it holds onto my arm with its claws and throws up in my hand. Not only that, but I’m guaranteed a great reference. It’s not because I’m special, or was the best worker they’d ever seen – it’s because I’m polite and follow protocol. So here’s how to quit your job without causing a scene and making everyone hate you too.

How to quit your job #1: Tell your boss first.

If you know you’re planning to quit your job soon, make sure your boss knows first. Don’t let it quietly leak here and there around the office and hope it gets back to them so you don’t have to say it. It makes you look weak, and it makes it look like you don’t have enough respect for them to tell them yourself.

If your time at the company is done, gird your loins, put on your big girl panties, and walk right in and tell them. Take responsibility for your own decisions. Trust me. They will appreciate knowing before the rest of the company.

How to quit your job #2: Give at least the requisite two-week notice.

Whether you’re quitting because you have to go live with your dying Aunt Tutti, or because your boyfriend got a job in Europe and you want to go too (and who can blame you?), in almost every circumstance, you know before it’s going to happen. There’s no reason not to give notice.

If you’re leaving because you got a new job, that new job will be more likely to hire you if you tell them you need to give your current job notice – because they know you’ll do it for them. If you aren’t saying anything because you think they’re going to treat you badly, well, they might. But if you just don’t have the guts and think “it’s better this way,” that’s totally wrong. Employers appreciate knowing they need to find someone to fill your space (and having the time to find someone new).

How to quit your job #3: Stick around as long as you can.

If you don’t have a deadline, offer to stay until they find a replacement – but make sure it’s clear that you won’t stay around forever, or they may take a little more time than you had in mind before they find someone. They often like you to train your replacement. You were obviously there for a reason, and you can pass that on for them.

How to quit your job #4: Don’t write nasty social media posts after you quit.

You shouldn’t write inappropriate posts about your job while you’re there, and you definitely shouldn’t make inappropriate posts after you leave. Things like “Oh em gee. I can’t believe I worked at that shitbox excuse for an office building for so long. My boss was SUCH an ASSHAT” should be said in your head only — not permanently on your wall for all the world to see. Not only will your new employer inevitably see it, but if your old employer catches wind, you can kiss your chances of them giving you a good reference goodbye.

How to quit your job #5: Keep doing your job until you clock out for the last time on your last day.

At my last job, I was the only person who quit while I worked there who didn’t get fired before their time of notice was over. Why? Because I never stopped doing my work. Until I clocked out at the very end of the day at the end of the 14 days, I worked like I was going to be there for another three years. You’re still getting paid. Act like it. Because once you put your notice in, they’re already looking for someone new. Which means you need that last paycheck more than they need you standing around with your nose in the air.

Last modified on November 9th, 2016

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