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Career Advice

Keep It Classy! How to Quit Your Job With Grace

Posted by Amy Elisa Jackson

Last Updated September 1, 2016

Making the decision to quit a job is almost never easy. Whether you have been practicing your Jerry Maguire-style farewell monologue or the need to exit has been precipitated by unforeseen circumstances, leaving a job is filled with a lot of emotions for you and for the team you are leaving behind. But no matter the circumstance, there is a "right way" to quit your job. Hint: It's not what Tom Cruise did in the 1996 movie.

Instead, deciding to quit is a personal, often private matter that has more to do with one's own career trajectory rather than the company culture.

"Listen when your gut tells you to move on," advised personal finance guru Suze Orman. "About a year ago, something started to change. I woke up one morning, and I knew that it was time to end the Suze Orman Show," she explained of her decision. "My heart knew it was time for me to go."

It's just that simple. And in the vein of keeping it simple, here are 9 straightforward tips for how to quit your job properly and with grace:

1. Follow protocol.

Speak to your manager face-to-face and give two- to three-weeks notice. This shows respect is advised unless there is a negative situation brewing, which forces you to get out fast.

2. Devise a strategy.

Work with your manager for how to announce your departure, schedule your last day, and the best way to handle the announcement, especially if you have direct reports.

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3. Pack your things during off hours.

Come in after hours to pack your desk and box up your personal items. The goal here is to not disrupt your coworkers.

4. Be happy but not excessively happy.

Keeping others in mind, don’t rub it in people’s faces that you're leaving. Whether you're departing for a higher-paying job or an entrepreneurial venture or even for a month of traveling through the Philippines, stop yourself from skipping through the halls in quitting bliss.

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5. Continue to be engaged in work.

Attend meetings, maintain your work but focus on tying up loose ends and transitioning responsibilities to colleagues.

6. Prepare a transition document.

Outline the projects you've been working on, key information, and important contacts to pass along to  your team or the person assuming your duties. This will endear others to you and is the ultimate way you can transition out of a role smoothly, without burning bridges.

7. Send a transition email.

Craft a message to important company clients to tell them about your departure and last date on the job. Make a list of who would want to keep working with your team going forward and be sure to connect the dots.

8. Express your gratitude.

No matter what the circumstances are of your exit from the company, thank your colleagues for the years of collaboration, hard work, and achievements. Whether in an email or a mini-sendoff meeting, be appreciative as you exit.

9. Don’t linger.

While it may be awkward to leave, you must stick by your decision to quit. You are moving on. Therefore, let the team move on without you.


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