Best Impression: How to Quit Your Job with Style & Grace

 In Career Tips

Best Impression: How to Quit Your Job with Style & GraceThere are times in all of our careers when we fantasize about quitting our jobs by trashing the boss, mooning the department bully and then hiding a critical file as we gleefully exit the building.  Sounds fun doesn’t it?  It is until you discover that you burnt bridges which you now really need to have intact.  There are times when our work situation is so bad that we can’t imagine staying much less coming back for anything.

The truth of the matter is that you may need them later more than you can realize at the moment, so it’s better to leave with so much style that they really do want you to stay.  Even if you are exiting under the best of circumstances, there are things you can do that will create a great and lasting impression.

Plan your exit.  Even if it is 1 day from now, plan to tidy things up for the next person and organize your work so you leave an easy trail for others to follow.  Ideally, you will give a two-week notice which will allow you time to wrap up projects, turn things over to others and possibility train others to take over your tasks.  You will leave a more positive impression on your work peers if you aren’t dumping your work on them expecting them to decode what you’ve been doing.  They will complain about what they think looks like a confusing mess, even if you know it’s not.  That is not the legacy you want to have.

Put it in writing.  Make your quitting a professional letter so it leaves no question about your intent.  Sometimes when we speak to others about tough topics, our communication skills go out the door.  We can be vague, incomplete and confusing.  Your letter doesn’t need to go into detail about anything other than your last day of work and a sense of planning to turn over your work in a professional manner.  You are not obligated to detail out your reason for leaving, but you do need to be prepared to answer people’s questions about your reasons.  Have a brief and positive explanation prepared ahead of publishing your resignation letter so your response to those questions is consistent and believable.

Plan on gossip.  Most of us have a few people we confide in at work.  You can count on your real reasons to get out to be gossiped about.  Be very selective about who you complain to and tell ahead of time that you are leaving.  If you know your work friends have shared gossip before this, you can count on them doing it now.  If you want to control this level of gossip, wait until the very last minute to confide in your friends; and keep your reasons consistent with your public comments.

Clean your office.  No one likes to clean up someone else’s office debris.  Start soon to clear out your office so that by your last day you are down to only a few minor things to deal with.

Stay engaged.  Once you’ve made a decision to leave it’s hard to avoid becoming a “short timer”.  Short timers are notorious for all sorts of bad behavior.  The most notable is becoming completely complacent; and following that is leaving early, coming in late, long lunch hours and ongoing reminders that: “You’re outta here”.  Please be a professional until you leave.

Check back.  Even though you’ve left, call back in after a week or two to ensure those people who have picked up your work have a chance to get further insight and direction from you.  Don’t be afraid to call the boss to ask the same question.  Let them know you care about your work and are being a responsible professional.

How you leave a job is as important as how you start one.  When your work situation has been bad and you can’t wait to leave, you think returning for any reason won’t happen.  You never know what the future will bring. You may find that you need references, resources or even a job; and while right now it is hard to imagine going back to your place of business for any reason – you might need to.

Even if your work situation has been fine, your final days can be the thing that you may remembered for.  Make your exit positive, professional and leaving them wanting you to stay.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from and

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