How to Leave Your Job Gracefully

You have just accepted that great new job, congratulations!  It can be a liberating experience for many people, however, how you go about it will have an impact on your reputation. After you leave, your behavior and work habits will be remembered for a long time. In many fields, people are interconnected and if you leave a position on bad terms, people at other companies may hear about it.

Even if you are leaving simply for a better opportunity, it never hurts to stay in touch with former colleagues.  You never know down the road who you may run into.  As they say “never burn your bridges”.   Down the road you may end up interviewing with a former boss or colleague, or you may need a recommendation or referral from them.  When leaving your job, it is best to maintain good professional relationships and your reputation.

  • Always give adequate notice, two weeks is the standard amount of time.  Some companies have different polices so it pays to find out what your company’s policy is and offer to extend the time if necessary.  You may also want to offer to be available should questions come up.  If you need a referral from your former boss, he or she will remember this.
  • Resign respectfully, your resignation letter will remain in your file and it is not the place to complain.  You won’t gain anything by this and you want to keep the door open if you ever want to come back.
  • Do not accept a counteroffer,once you decide to quit. Your boss will no longer trust you and if you agree to stay, your character is questionable. They may feel that money is your true motivator.
  • Maintain your credibility by working hard during your last two weeks, resist the urge to slack off.  Your colleagues and boss will thank you for that and will be more inclined to help if you need a favor from them in the future.
  • Set your colleagues up for future success after you leave. Try to wrap up as many projects as you can and delegate any unfinished work to the appropriate people. Offer to help the company train a replacement if possible.
  • Leave on a high note, no matter how you feel about the company.  Keep it professional and positive, express gratitude for all that was learned.

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