How To Talk About Quitting Your Current Job
You have decided, Your mind is fixed and you’re certain that your time with your current employer must come to an end. Whether it’s because of a golden opportunity elsewhere, relocation or you’ve just had enough of the job, there is a right time and a right way of leaving your job.
Remember your head might be full of frustration and a vengeful attitude, but making a professional exit can pay dividends further down the line. Here’s how to leave your job…
Don’t rush into handing in your notice. Talk to colleagues, friends and family and then take stock of your own feelings about leaving.
Why do you want to leave? Your reasons might include pay, the commute to work, lack of opportunities, a missed promotion, irritating colleagues or just boredom. Whatever your reason, can it be rectified by you or by talking with your boss or work colleague?
Recruitment consultant Max urges anyone set on leaving to be sure. He says, “It’s your life. Remember that it is you and your family that will have to live with the consequences of your decision, so make sure you are reasoned when weighing up your options. And definitely DON’T burn any bridges.”
So your mind is made up and you want to leave. First of all, look at your contract and the company terms and conditions (often available on one of your computer servers at work or in the printed company handbook).
Max says, “Checking your contract and terms and conditions is vital because it informs you what your notice period is, pretty vital if you are taking up new employment.
“It’s also best to speak to the boss about your intentions to leave. Don’t be afraid of this, it is courteous to do so and you never know what the outcome will be. I heard of a case recently when an employee went in to give their notice and came out with a £8k pay rise and promotion. You might go in determined, but if you’re good the boss won’t want you to leave. At the very least, they will have to invest money, time and effort to get a replacement for you.
“If you are all cleared to go, make sure you get in touch with your HR department to sort out any lieu time, holiday entitlement, bonuses and unpaid bonuses,”adds Max. “Sometimes notice periods can become significantly shorter if you have a lot of holiday time to take, and money can often soften the blow of having to hang on through the notice period!”
Write a letter
“It is usually best to write a resignation letter to the company explaining why you want to leave and thanking the company for the opportunity they have given you. A copy of the letter should go to your line manager and HR about two to four weeks before you leave (but do consult the company handbook for variations on this),” says recruitment manager Louise.
“I would keep to my mantra of courtesy, etiquette and professionalism. The letter should be clear, short and polite. First of all state your intention of leaving and give a specific last day of work,” adds Louise.
“If you feel confident explaining the reasons why you want to leave, for example relocation, a better job or a career change, write that down. Finally, thank your line manager and the company for the opportunity it has given you. It is always good to end on a positive note.”
Make it smooth
“A lot of things can happen in your last few weeks with a company”, says Louise. “Do not drag your heels and think that your remaining time there is insignificant, it is significant to the company that you are leaving – and as the saying goes you never know what will happen further down the road in your career.
“Companies can often ask you to complete an important project or even ask you to help train up your replacement. What have you got to lose? It also pretty well guarantees you a good reference if the job you are moving on to doesn’t work out,” Louise adds.
Any advice to those who might feel like expressing their dissatisfaction before departing? “That’s easy to answer… don’t! No matter how you may feel, sabotaging or deleting company documents and files or telling someone what you ‘really’ think of them is an incredibly stupid thing to do,” says Louise. “This is the time to show your mature side and be the bigger person. Leave professionally and gracefully… Sometimes deep breaths can help with this!”
What if my current employer doesn’t react well to the news?
“You can’t necessarily expect your boss to be overjoyed when you announce your exit,” says recruitment consultant Max.
“Often it is not in the company’s interest for you to leave and they may not have a contingency plan for your departure, so be prepared for a whole range of different emotions, anything from Yippee!, to anger and remorse.”
Recruitment manager Louise has some sound advice. “Don’t get drawn into the emotions as it can end up being to your cost, so keep a level head. A boss can flatter you and talk about what a great job you’ve done and promise you things if you stay. Sometimes it’s just not the best idea to stay, so remain firm and calm at all times.
“On the other hand, a boss may try to make you feel guilty about leaving (‘After all we’ve done for you… and this is what we get in return’). If you are sure you are doing the right thing in leaving, stick to your guns and keep a calm head.”
A final bit of advice…
“Keep in touch,” says recruitment manager Louise. “Before you walk out of that door for the ‘final’ time, be certain to have contact details of key people and co-workers that you want to keep a part of your network. Also keep those same people up to date with you contact information if it changes. It’s a small world out there and you never know what life may bring.”
By Justin Stevens
Justin Stevens is regular contributor to Nursing Standard and Totaljobs. He has worked for a wide variety of publishing titles and websites as a freelance editor and writer, ranging from the Times Educational Supplement to OK! via the Sunday Times, The Observer and Brand Republic.