Every good show has three critical parts – the pilot, the main body, and the finale. The pilot makes the viewers know if the show is worth watching or not, the main body keeps you hooked, and the ending wraps everything up well to present a good show. If you get any of these parts wrong, you mess up the quality of work done.
The same thing applies to employment. Your pilot episode is your interview where your current employer determines whether you are a good fit for the company or not. Your main body is the number of hours you put into action, providing the best of your expertise and skills to improving the quality of your organization. Finally, your finale is where you bow out and close the curtain on that chapter of your life.
You are tired of waking up every morning to go to a job you hate. Your dream career might differ from the reality you live now. Perhaps you feel like your career progression is stagnant, maybe you feel like you’re undervalued and underpaid. You may be tired of working in a toxic environment or the stressful daily commute, or you get bullied at work, or you feel it is time for a new chapter of your life. The bottom line is that you already have a fire in your belly to quit your job and chase your passion. And there is only one way to do that. Like with a good show, you bow out gracefully and on good terms with everybody.
Your current position may leave a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your last days burning bridges and creating a hostile work environment for your co-workers. Before you rush off to drop your “I quit!” speech to your boss, there are some steps you need to take to ensure you have a smooth transition.
Getting Ready To Quit
Writing your resignation letter and turning it in when you don’t have a concrete plan in place to chase after your dreams is a rash decision that may or may not work out in the end. But, you don’t want to leave your chances of being successful to luck, so you should have a plan in place for when you leave your current job. It may mean staying longer in a job you are more than ready to leave, but whatever dreams you have to chase next will love you better for it.
Now let’s hit the steps you need to take in preparation to quit.
Make Sure You Are Ready to Go at a Moment’s Notice
Start reorganizing your personal space in the office and take all your personal touches home. Take out all your private files from the company’s computer and back up valuable information.
Draft Your Resignation Letter
You might feel tempted to leave a cheeky notification for your boss to tell him you are leaving, especially if you have a rough history. But, no matter your reasons for quitting, a formal letter of resignation is more than a simple professional courtesy. It is also a legal and official document, and you should treat it as such. When hired, most job offers require employees to sign formal employment contracts, and your resignation letter is a document that states that you are leaving and when you are leaving. Check out here the great samples of resignation letters and mistakes to watch out for.
Make Sure Your Exit Timeline Is Comfortable for You
The standard is to give two weeks’ notice before your final day. Although, in some cases, it might take longer than two weeks for your replacement to be ready, and your company might require you to stay longer and ease their transition. Sometimes, you might be required to complete an ongoing project before leaving. Whatever the situation is, make sure you’re comfortable with the time it will take for you to transition from your old job to your new career. Remember that the goal is not to burn bridges but to tie up loose ends.
Be Ready to Answer the Tough Questions During Your Exit Interview
Some employers might balk at the idea of one of their employees quitting, so might want to grill you on your reasons for leaving the job or company. Be honest but only give constructive criticisms and try not to display anger and bitterness in your responses. Remember, your current boss could also be your future reference. Also, if you have been a valuable asset to the company, they might try to tempt you with a counteroffer (a raise, lesser work hours, promotion, more vacation time, responsibilities, company car, etc.). Try not to get seduced into remaining in the same situation you were trying to leave.
Be Careful With How You Share the News With Your Co-Workers
Take note of company culture when sharing the news of your resignation to your colleagues. Don’t badmouth your boss to your co-workers, and don’t badmouth your co-workers. There is no harm in telling the co-workers you trust about your resignation before you inform your superiors, just as long as you can count on them to keep it under wraps until you make an official announcement. But if you have a hostile company culture, keep your decision to yourself till your ready.
Things to Avoid When Quitting Your Job
Don’t Leave Without Doing Your Exit Interview
Asides the grilling and the counteroffers, there is something else that you find out during your exit interview – the employee benefits and salary packages you are entitled to receive. It will be painful to discover months down the line that you missed the opportunity to get some of the things due to you because you left without following due protocol. Before you leave, try to schedule an exit interview. It will help you tie up all loose ends and discuss your entitlements, such as your pension or retirement plan, unused vacation days, your health benefits, and any other benefits that may be of assistance on your new journey.
Don’t Take Things That Don’t Belong to You
Anything that doesn’t belong to you does not belong to you, simple as ABC. If you have anything, the company issued with you (cars, keys, phones, computers, ID cards, etc.) return them and get the official documents that state that you have returned everything. Also, make sure the contacts and files you copied from your work computer are legal and ethical. The last thing you need on your plate is to get busted for theft, intellectual property theft, or corporate espionage.
Don’t Brag About Your Plans
It might be tempting to brag about the benefits you stand to enjoy by chasing your dreams, especially if they outnumber those you get by being stuck at your old job, but please, don’t. Not only does it make you appear like a jerk, but it also rubs of the people you are leaving behind the wrong way. I bet they don’t need reminding of how less inspiring their jobs are.
Don’t Forget to Say Goodbye
No, seriously. You have spent months (for some, years and decades) working in the same space as these people, it is only fair, good manners, and good business to say goodbye to them when you leave. It won’t cost you much to take a few moments before you check out finally to give the people you’ve worked directly with, even if you are not on the best of terms with them. Also, leave behind your contact information so that interested persons can keep in touch with you.
Don’t Put Anything Negative in Writing
Irrespective of how much you don’t like your job, the company or your boss, don’t say it. It is easy to fantasize about sticking it to the man but let it remain as fantasies. Even if your resignation is the best decision you’ve ever made for your life, don’t say it. Be careful with your words. Check the tone and review your words in your resignation letter. It will go on record, along with your other employment documents, and even years after you have resigned, it can come back to haunt you. If you’ve got issues with anyone, it is not worth venting over; years down the line, you may not even remember what made you so angry. Some people may not be the easiest to work with, but it is up to you to cut ties cleanly and ensure you are quitting on a professional high note.
A New Start – A New Beginning
Whether you are quitting your job to start your dream job or you are leaving for another place of employment, one thing that will follow you around is your reputation. Don’t screw up the finale after you have worked hard to perfect the pilot and the main body. Resist the temptation to “hit them where it hurts” on your way out. It might seem like a bright idea at the moment, but you will have a harder time cleaning up your reputation along the line. Do the right thing and you will improve the quality of your life when you don’t have to worry about what people think about you.
Have you ever had to resign from your place of employment? Please share with us in the comment section and let us know how these tips could have helped improve the quality of that experience.
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