Career Advice

7 Ways To Screw Up Quitting Your Job

The current job climate has left many employed individuals feeling trapped in positions they dislike. Workers are left facing a variety of issues including being overworked, underpaid and/or struggling with a less-than-great manager.

For those individuals looking to finally quit their lackluster positions, the New Year is just around the corner, and it’s boasting some good news in terms of job outlook in 2013. In the coming year, like likelihood of landing a new job will be the best since 2007.

But before you quit your job tomorrow, it’s important to recognize there are many potentially terrible things to do when planning your exit strategy. Here are seven things you don’t want to do when leaving your current position:

1. Quit Unexpectedly And Without Notice. Even if you’ve reached your wits’ end in your current position, quitting without warning just isn’t acceptable. The standard practice for resigning involves giving two weeks’ notice — failing to do so could result in a bridge being burned. It’s true that a trail of respect often follows you from job to job and word can get out within your industry about how you handled your resignation.

2. Forget To Weigh Your Options. Many individuals find that leaving a job they’re unhappy in for a new opportunity wasn’t necessarily the answer to their problems. While this isn’t the case for everyone, many employees suffer from a “grass is always greener” mentality, which leads to quitting rather than attempting to weigh their options. Before you decide to quit, assess your situation and look for way to improve it — don’t be afraid to approach your manager with a potential plan.

3. Don’t Put It In Writing. Simply telling your manager that you are quitting just won’t cut it. Write a formal resignation letter and set up a meeting with your manager. There are many scenarios for resigning, and putting it in writing will act as a professional and respectful way to express your terms.

4. Don’t Ask For An Exit Interview. Many companies require every employee participate in an exit interview prior to leaving. If your company doesn’t require this, it’s still a good idea attempt to set one up. This is your chance to be respectfully honest about your experience with the company — good or bad. Your answers to a variety of questions could help benefit current and future staff.

5. Disregard Asking For A Reference. Never quit without asking your boss and colleagues if they would be interested in acting as a reference for you in the future. Don’t miss out on the chance to use someone who truly knows about your qualifications — especially if you’ve worked with them for a long time. Be sure to gather their information, stay in touch at least every quarter, and contact them when you actually give their name to a company during the hiring process.

6. Spread Gossip. There can certainly be a lot of negativity involved with quitting, but do your best to ensure that all of your conversations about moving on are positive. Never brag about your new job, talk poorly about management, or express anything less than a positive outlook. Gossip moves fast in a work environment, and you wouldn’t want anyone to lose respect for you.

7. Don’t Tie Up Loose Ends. Resignation isn’t always easy when it comes to tying up loose ends, but it’s essential that you do so. Your boss will respect your flexibility in terms of helping to train your replacement or finishing up certain projects you’ve been assigned. Whatever the case may be, leaving things unfinished shouldn’t be optional.

Quitting your job isn’t always a smooth transition, but there are many things that you can do to avoid a burned bridge. Stray from these mistakes to ensure a professional resignation that leaves you with strong references.

Have you ever resigned from a position? If so, how did you handle it?