How to quit your job in a “positive way”

How to quit your job in a “positive way”

| Career

You've realised that a career change is in order, but you're unsure of where to start.

It's not as simple as not showing up for work one day, especially if you've been with the same company for a significant time, have positive relationships with your managers, and want to depart on good terms. In this situation, proceeding cautiously and following our step-by-step guide is crucial. Doing it this way ensures a smooth transition without causing any disruptions for the company or yourself!

Step 1. Strategically plan your next move after leaving

It's possible that receiving a particular job offer from another employer has prompted you to consider changing jobs. In this scenario, everything appears to be on track. Since you know precisely where you're headed, you'll likely transition smoothly to your new job after leaving your old one. The key is ensuring all agreements are formalised and the inviting employer remains committed to their offer. Suppose any doubts arise (whether from you or the inviting employer). In that case, waiting for the final decision is advisable rather than rushing into something.

What if you're not leaving to start a new job but need a break? In this situation, it's important to plan your time off. Without a plan, you might spend your entire vacation at home, not getting the rest and change of scenery you need. Make a to-do list, or even better, a schedule, and plan out your days. Decide which days you'll relax at home and which days you'll tackle those long-awaited projects or take those advanced training courses, visit another city, or meet up with friends.

When you know what tasks or jobs you must tackle during your vacation or how exactly you will "recharge", you can move on to the next step!

Step 2. Consider the timing of your departure

It's vital to consider the timing not just for yourself but also for your company. During challenging periods, it's considerate not to leave if your company is in a crisis and lacks the resources to hire new employees. If you're returning from a vacation to a workload-heavy office or responsible for an important project that would be left unfinished if you depart, it's wise to hold off on any decisions. It's true that there's never a perfect time, problems will always arise in a company, and life is roaring along. However, it's best to avoid worsening internal situations by leaving unless it's a 'burn your bridges' scenario (though if that were the case, you probably wouldn't be reading this guide).

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Step 3. Provide advance notice

While labour rules in various countries and even different companies specify varying deadlines for resigning, it's ideal to communicate your plans as early as possible to ensure a smoother transition for the company. If you know approximately how long it takes to find a professional in your field (especially in a field that is considered rare), then factor this time into your plan.

Typically, it's advisable to provide notice of your resignation approximately three weeks before your anticipated departure. This allows ample time to secure a replacement. It's generally not recommended to offer more than four weeks' notice. Remember that life is unpredictable, and your plans might change during that time.

When resigning, it's important to limit disclosing your decision to only your manager or the HR department with whom you must communicate. This way, your manager will not find out about your news from any third party and will be able to tell the team personally. Sometimes, a professional must remain at their workplace or alter their decision. In these cases, colleagues should be informed last.

Step 4. Put all your affairs and tasks in order

Schedule your departure date strategically, allowing ample time to finish all ongoing projects and smoothly transition work responsibilities without any urgent deadlines. Additionally, proactively collect all relevant information the next professional taking over your role might need. You can gather it in a separate document, table, or folder. And that includes:

  • Providing detailed instructions that outline daily duties and routine tasks whilst prioritising the professional's initial responsibilities in their new role;

  • Preparing a helpful guide for any issues or questions a newcomer might face;

  • Creating a list of business contacts if your tasks include, for example, calling, negotiating, etc.;

  • Developing a list of particularly important tasks with notes you did not have enough time to finish before your resignation (if there is one) and what a newcomer should do about it.

Ensuring proper preparation for a handover is crucial, especially when working in a team. In this situation, discuss who will temporarily take over your responsibilities. Set out the things that require their attention if there is something super-important, complex or even a "burning" issue that you are unfortunately forced to leave to someone else. For instance, if one of the partners is waiting for your call or signing an agreement.

Step 5. Answer questions and assist after quitting

The most positive resignation is a "buddy" resignation. Nobody expects you to be available 24/7 or work for free after leaving the office. However, consider sharing your contact information with the new professional or discussing the possibility of providing informational or technical support for a few weeks after your departure. This is particularly crucial if your work for the company holds significant importance. You can also explore offering consulting services to the company for an extra fee. This would involve working part-time or remotely rather than as a permanent employee.

Note: Don't rush to clear your computer or diary of work notes-they may come in handy when employees ask clarification questions. Keep records for at least the first 3-4 months after you leave.

How to properly discuss your resignation with your boss one-on-one

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This guide aims to facilitate the process of resigning, namely, having a conversation with your manager.

Step 1. Request a one-on-one meeting with your manager

Avoid announcing your resignation via SMS or email; use these channels to request a private meeting with your boss. Firstly, ask what day and time the manager is free to chat without mentioning the future subject of conversation. If your manager directly asks about the topic of discussion, be honest and say that it pertains to your employment.

You can lower your stress and that of your manager by choosing a peaceful time and place. It can also be an informal setting, such as in a café over lunch.

Step 2. Get straight to the point

Your manager is most likely incredibly busy and would appreciate it if the meeting did not take too long. Therefore, get straight to the point, be direct, and avoid vague language and any attempts to soften the situation. Start by saying, "After careful consideration, I've decided to explore opportunities in a different field. I am grateful you allowed me to gain valuable experience here, but I've decided to pursue a different job." Or, "I wanted to inform you that I've received a job offer from another company in a completely new field. It's an exciting opportunity for me to explore. While I truly appreciate our company and our team, I've decided to submit my resignation." "Would it be convenient for you if my last working day is on a specific date? I'll have time to complete and hand over the project I'm currently working on."

Step 3. Prepare for suggestions and any alternatives

If you are a valuable employee, your manager may discuss improving working conditions to encourage you to stay. Decide in advance whether such an outcome is possible or if your decision is final. It's essential to pinpoint the exact reason for changing jobs. Whether you are dissatisfied with your current salary or desire a complete career shift, you may be offered horizontal career growth, or a promotion with bonuses, or other options.

Your actions depend on what decision you have made for yourself:

  • If you decide to remain with certain conditions, express them to your manager and explore potential solutions. Request to have the agreement documented in writing or inquire about its effective date to ensure that it doesn't remain just a promise (especially if it involves declining another job offer).

  • If you disagree, express it tactfully by saying, "It's not about the conditions; they suit me perfectly. I want to explore new opportunities elsewhere."

Note: You can also discuss with your employer the possibility of returning to the company if the new opportunity or company is unsuitable. It all depends on your value as an employee, which plays a crucial role-employers are often willing to wait for skilled professionals.

Step 4. Stay on good terms

Conclude your conversation with the manager by emphasising the positive aspects of your collaboration and expressing appreciation for what you enjoyed about your job, the company, or your manager. It would be best if you remained polite and tactful whilst maintaining sincerity. You can conclude the conversation by saying, "As a team, we occasionally faced misunderstandings but always resolved them." "I genuinely appreciate the company's support during my training, projects or challenging moments." If you want to emphasise the reason for your departure, consider wording it like this: "Yes, perhaps our differing views on working methods played a part in it. However, I am genuinely grateful to you."

Note: Be prepared to leave abruptly, if necessary, especially if you're aware that your manager has a short temper. There's a possibility that they might ask you to vacate your workplace immediately if your departure significantly impacts them. Entering such a conversation well-prepared with all necessary documents and files is advisable. Also, do not forget that considering life's unpredictability, it's worth ending your cooperation with the company on a positive note. In the future, you might work with the same people, either under their leadership or as their boss. It is worth ending your cooperation with the company on a good note.

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