There are many reasons people leave their current job. Sometimes you’ve been there too long, and need a change of pace, sometimes the new opportunity you took didn’t pan out as expected, and sometimes it’s plain old environment that is the driving force for your exit. As tempting as it may be to throw up your file folders and call it a day (especially if your reason for leaving is the latter), knowing how to depart a job gracefully, and respectfully can be one of the best things you can do for your reputation, and your future hireability.
Greg Savage- global leader of the recruitment industry and a regular keynote speaker worldwide, as well as author of ‘The Savage Truth’ blog writes:
Having run and owned businesses for 25 years, I guess I have been on the receiving end of a huge number of resignations. And it stuns me how destructive, to themselves, some people can be. Petty and vindictive. Or just lazy and sloppy. And yet, so many times, six months later, when their dream job did not turn out so well, they want to come back. Or they need a reference. Hmmm…I have hired back literally dozens of ex-employees who behaved impeccably on the way out. In those cases the door is always open. But many more have sullied their exit, behaving appallingly and burning customers and colleagues along the way. And to them, the door is closed, forever. )
So what are some of the things you can do to have a graceful departure?
Give enough time
The ‘golden rule’ since you got your first part-time job at the local grocery store, has always been ‘two weeks’ right? Wrong. Think again. The ‘two week’ rule is generally considered the absolute minimal notice you should give. This number has been drilled into our collective consciousness, when really it should be more of a starting point. Two weeks was fine at the grocery store, but now perhaps you have a team that reports to you, or do a job no one else can do. Be respectful, stick around to help reshuffle responsibilities, offer to help find and train your replacement. Try to be remembered with respect, and not as the person who made life harder for your former colleagues.
Don’t use your firm’s technology to map your moves
On a more humorous note, Deborah L. Jacobs, staff writer at Forbes, recommends not using your company’s technology to map out your next moves. She writes “This includes communicating with your future employer, or the other professionals you might consult about the move. Get a private email account. Use your personal cell phone to talk to potential employers. Keep your plans confidential, especially with respect to your current colleagues. Don’t write your resume at work–even on your lunch hour. Why be so cagey and cautious? If you’re not, you may quickly find yourself in the position of Googling for tips about what to do when escorted out by human resources with your rubber band ball and cactus.
This one is obvious but cannot be reiterated enough. The first person you should tell that you are leaving is your boss. If you spill the beans too early, office gossip might travel up to your boss, and they will be livid and insulted that they didn’t hear it from you. Leaving a job can be tough, and there isn’t always a guarantee that if you take all the proper precautions you will be received without scorn. However, it is always best to attempt grace and leave dignified, and to treat people how you would like to be treated.