How to leave a job on good terms
Quitting a job makes for great drama, as the movies will have us believe.
But if you have a new job awaiting you, and really want to tell your boss where to go, exhale and proceed with care throughout the entire exit process.
“You may need these folks in the future for a reference, for networking, for things you can't anticipate now. Don't burn bridges,” says Anne Speckhard, an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Medical School Department of Psychiatry.
Remember, relationships are everything and when you quit, you are exiting one.
Jodi R. R. Smith, a human resources professional and an etiquette book author in Marblehead, Mass., says there are often only a few degrees of separation between professionals in any given field.
“If you have specialized in a specific field, it is highly probable that you will cross paths in the future with the people you are leaving behind today. Keep relationships positive and the communication open,” she says. “You never know when you might see these people again.”
Laura Lee Rose, a business and career management coach in Raleigh, N.C., adds that it’s a good rule of thumb to leave on good terms, even if the work environment was difficult.
When asked, "Why are you leaving?" avoid saying anything negative about the position or people in the company. Focus on what you have gained and learned in the positions as it has likely allowed you to advance. If asked what could be done to retain good, Rose suggests offering procedural improvements that support the business mission and goals.
“Avoid emotional and personal comments on managers and co-workers. Focus on steps that will increase the company's revenue, customer satisfaction and efficiency,” she says.
Some other tips from Rose:
• Before you leave, offer to be available for a short period should they need to call or email you with questions. Offering some availability shows that you want the department to succeed after you leave. She notes that it's is not likely that they will call.
• Leave with a strong handshake and smile. Wish them well in the process.
• Avoid losing contact. Keep in touch with all your significant co-workers, managers, mentors and clients from this job. Business network with these people after you leave. Things change. “Their positions will change. Their needs will change. Your position will change and your needs will change, too. Opportunities will rise because of these business networks,” Rose adds.
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