Our parents and grandparents had the belief that once you have grown up and are done with your studies, you take a job and you work there until your retirement. The value of loyalty was far beyond chasing salaries to those generations, and good for them. Unless you are in the minority of our generation and share these same views, there will be a day when you decide your hard work and time at that cubicle are over. You may have found a better job, want to move to a different city, hate your coworkers, or you won the lottery and just want to spend the next 5 years on your couch eating pizza and burritos. Whatever the reason, you will still need to follow some guidelines on quitting before you take that last step out the door.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Before you break the news, you need to formulate a plan of attack and speech. Strive to imitate the preparation you did for you college capstone or your job interview. I strongly suggest you avoid the lack of preparation you did for that art gen-ed midterm freshmen year. Think of when you are going to plan the meeting, what you are going to say, and imagine all the reactions your boss might have and how to mitigate damages from those situations. Part of this step includes preparing a resignation letter.
Yes, resignation letters are still a thing and no, they aren’t just for high ranking officials like a CEO or POTUS. The purpose is primarily for HR to have official documentation on your departure. If this is a difficult task or you’re having a serious case of writer’s block, try to keep it short and sweet. Mention that you have accepted a position elsewhere, thank them for the opportunity and experience they have given you, and list your last day with the company. You don’t need to go into where you are going and you don’t necessarily have to list reasons why you were interested in finding a new job in the first place.
X Weeks Notice
Your future employer doesn’t expect you to be at their office the day after you accept the position. In fact, it may make you look bad to your prior employer and new employer if you don’t give at least two weeks notice. The next two weeks may be painfully awkward, but it’s necessary. You might have to give 3 weeks or a month notice if you are a supervisor or have multiple projects that need to be done. The amount of time you need to transition should be told to your new employer when you accept the offer. Once that’s been cleared, it’s time for the uncomfortable part.
The Breakup Meeting
You can’t just slip the resignation letter under the door or send an email to your boss. You have to physically sit in their office and break it to them. The goal is to not burn bridges with your boss and your coworkers. This isn’t the time to remind them of all the hoops they made you jump through. You can’t hit them with a figurative WWE metal chair. If you walk out with double freedom birds flying like Marcus Hall leaving the Ohio State-Michigan brawl in 2013, you’ll destroy your network, ruin any future references, and karma will make sure you’ll work with these people again. Instead, you need to recreate every romance film where the guy breaks up with the girl and somehow makes the viewer still like him. Hell, you might even give them a suggestion on who they can hire next. Also, reiterate your two weeks time period and offer to help train whoever will replace or cover for you.
If you really want to talk about some of the crap you had to deal with, request an exit interview. Just make sure you construct your criticism in a positive manner.
Don’t’ Slack Off
Your work might not matter in a couple weeks, but it matters to your coworkers/friends. Don’t leave them hanging because you’re having flashbacks to the last month of elementary school where you got to watch Space Jam and inhale Pixy Stix every day.
Keep The Network Strong
You’re only as good as your network. I don’t know if that’s true, but someone a lot older with a lot more life experience told me that once, so I am going to take his word for it. Avoid hindering your network’s strength just because your employer line changed on LinkedIn. Make sure you talk to all your colleagues during your last few weeks and connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or email. You never know what could happen. Cody in accounting might become CFO of your dream company. Don’t let that connection slip away..
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