It’s human nature to remember the end of things, rather than the beginning. That’s probably the reason why a movie’s climax makes a greater impression on watchers than a fine entry line. Quitting gracefully and in a way that leaves the right impression and memory behind is probably even more important than how you start the job. Here’s how.
1. Quit Before You’re Forced To Quit
Quit before your lack of energy is noted, or affects your performance. If you wait too long, your emotions may also get out of hand and you’ll regret some of the things you’re forced to do.
2. Speak Only To Your Boss
Of course, nobody’s boss wants to hear their team member is quitting. What they’ll hate more is to hear about the imminent resignation through a third party! You be the one to tell your boss, and tell no one except your boss.
3. Allow Your Boss To Discuss And Negotiate
If your boss makes counter offers, consider them respectfully and objectively. Ask for them in writing; you can use them as leverage if you ever want to work there again. However, best not to accept any counter offer, as you’ll be considered unethical for threatening to quit just to get a raise.
4. Get Your Story Right
People tend to do this; there’s one story for the boss, and then there’s the real reason behind your need to quit – boss is a jackass and you hate working for him. Get your story straight and use the same story with everyone to prevent loss of credibility.
5. Never Close The Door Fully
Someday, you might want to come back; things change. Make sure you don’t vent your true feelings to anyone; that’ll make sure the door is closed forever.
6. Don’t Trash The Company During The Exit Interview
Unless you absolutely disagree with everything the company does or stands for, don’t trash it during the exit. Control your emotions and let them know you had a good time. Better still, avoid the exit interview.
7. Write A Gracious Resignation Letter
Keep your resignation letter gracious and formal. Don’t state your reasons for leaving, don’t list your aspirations, don’t put in emotional sentences about how much so and so means to you. Just thank the company and everyone for making your stay great.
8. Remember You Are Not Indispensable
Yes, you will be missed and it’ll be hard to 100% replace you, but replace you they can and they will. Don’t get tied up in knots thinking someone’s going to come in and ruin everything you’ve done. It’s really not your problem once you quit. The more you obsess, the more people are going to think you’re too big for your boots
9. Leave A Positive Trail Behind
If you leave a negative trail behind, your present company can ruin it for you with future employers, no matter what the law says. That jackass of a boss you hate today might become your boss or co-worker elsewhere. The important thing is that you’re remembered as a positive person.
10. Take Control Of The Shift In Power
When you quit, you’re no longer beholden to your boss; rather, you become your boss’s equal. Use this shift in power to show some more of your assertiveness. If your boss tries to extract more, do what you reasonably but with firm graciousness.
11. Help Graciously But Don’t Extend Notice
Some companies will try to make you extend your notice period just because they want to get more out of you. Once you have committed a last date, be firm about leaving. They cannot hold you back. Offer to help them via email or phone in your free hours.
12. Don’t Hang On To Company Property
Follow the protocol for returning company property; avoid potential lawsuits and bad feedback. Make a list of all company property that you hold weeks in advance. Ensure you get a signed receipt for each one to avoid confusion later.
13. Don’t Slack Off
You probably hate where you work; the moment you resigned, you felt pounds lighter. It’s human nature to slack off a bit in such circumstances. Don’t – people will be watching you and they will view any slacking off as highly unethical and unprofessional on your part.
14. Say Goodbye Graciously
If you cannot find the time to meet everyone and shake their hands, at least write personal emails to the people that count. Then send out a company-wide email thanking everyone for being great guys. Mention how much you’ve learnt and how much you take forward from there.
15. Help Hire, Train And Mentor Your Replacement
Create a transition document detailing all your projects, processes, methods, key SMEs and task procedures. Offer to help the company hire your replacement. Do what you can to train and mentor your replacement (if one is available) before you leave.