You have decided to quit your job because you want to take your skills and knowledge and start your own business; to move to a job with more money, growth and responsibility at your current or at another organization; to return to school to get more training or because you want to change careers or to take some much-needed time off to consider your options and then decide on your next career move.
It’s time to say goodbye to your boss and your colleagues. Whether you work in a small or large organization, how well you say goodbye can have a significant impact on your career and your reputation now and in the future. It’s important to spend as much time and energy preparing for your departure from your job as you do for a departure when you travel on a business trip or vacation.
When you leave a job, you need a departure date. If you work in a small office, have a job that is specialized or one that may require considerable time to find a replacement, the most considerate, respectful and generous thing to do is to give your boss as much notice as possible. At least one month’s notice is ideal, two weeks’ notice is cruel.
Next, do a detailed review of your workload. What projects are just beginning or are nearing completion? What projects can be assigned to other colleagues? What daily tasks can be assigned to other colleagues? What training is required to get others up to speed on what you do? You need to prepare a departure plan just like you prepare a trip plan or itinerary when you go on a business trip or vacation.
Finally, it’s time to prepare for the conversation when you inform your boss that you will be quitting your job. You may feel some fear and anxiety about this conversation. You may be wondering if your boss will be angry and disappointed. Three things that are important to keep in mind. One, these conversations are usually shorter, simpler, and less stressful than you imagine. Two, you cannot control your boss’s reaction so why waste time and energy worrying about it. Third, your preparation and professionalism will contribute to a better result.
Here’s how to prepare and conduct the conversation. Write down what you want to say to your boss. Be brief, honest and sincere. Practice what you are going to say until you are comfortable with the tone and words. Express your gratitude to your boss and colleagues for the opportunity to work with them, for what they have given you, for what you have learned from them and for what you will remember about working with them. Talk about your departure date and discuss your plan. Commit to doing as much as possible before your departure date to ease the workload before and the transition after your departure. Be focused, attentive, sensitive and thoughtful.
Goodbyes are never easy whether you are leaving on good or bad terms. Make it easy on yourself, your boss and your colleagues. If you are prepared and professional, you will have a successful departure, maintain positive relationships with your boss and colleagues and look forward to a new and exciting chapter in your career.