How to Quit Your Job Like a Professional
Maybe you got a better offer. Maybe you’re just over the drama and office politics at your current gig. Whatever your reason for quitting, it’s smart to take the high road, according to Charlie Javice, the founder of Frank, a service that makes it easier to understand and apply for financial aid. In her career, she’s had a lot of experience helping people, especially millennials, navigate career transitions. That’s why we asked her to share her do’s and don’ts.
Do: Send a Letter of Resignation
Per Charlie, this is a must, but no one is mailing resignation letters via snail mail anymore. Instead, a quick email—and one that you send right after you tell your boss—will suffice. Be sure to include the full date of your last day, thank your employer for the work opportunity and let them know how much you appreciate them for adding to your career growth. (Even if it was the worst experience of your life, you’d be surprised how small the workforce is and you never know when your paths will cross again.)
Don’t: Tell Your Colleagues First
Unless you were brought in by a mentor or member of the executive team who vouched for you, your boss should always be the person you give notice to first. You can tell any of your close friends immediately after, but the best order is 1. Your boss, 2. HR and 3. Your friends/colleagues.
Do: Give *At Least* Two Weeks' Notice
However, if you’re in a critical role/more senior position or are running a big project that you’re right in the middle of, one to three months' notice is best, according to Javice. This gives your colleagues enough time to find someone to fill your role and enough time for you to help train that person, too.
Don’t: Ask About a Counter Offer Unless Your Boss Brings It Up First
When you give your notice, let your boss or HR manager know how excited you are about your new offer, but also be sure to mention what you’ve contributed to the company and how you’ve moved the company/department forward. If upward mobility is important to you and it’s something that’s being offered by your new company, tell them that, too. If they ask what it will take for you to stay, then—and only then—is it OK to talk money and a list of demands (pay, job title, work hour flexibility, etc.). If the conversation reaches this point, as with any negotiation, be sure to pad your ask so there’s room to negotiate.
Do: Ask Your Current Boss to Be a Future Reference
Explain that you value your relationship and ask if she’d be willing to serve as a reference in the future. Even if there are sticking points, your boss is human and likely cares about you and your career. This way, when it’s time to move on from your new job, you know you’ve got her in your corner.
Don’t: Slack Off During Your Last Two Weeks
Think about it: Whatever you do during this time leaves a lasting impression. No one will recall that amazing presentation you nailed back in 2016. But they will remember if you ride out your final two weeks missing deadlines and taking extra leisurely lunches.
Don’t: Be Greedy About PTO After Your Last Day
Yes, you should be paid what you have earned. But once HR spells out your final payout based on their tracking/records, review it, sign off and move on. There’s nothing worse than following up about random “missing” days' pay after the fact. Unless your paycheck is really wrong, don’t be greedy. (One extra day of salary is worth a lot less than leaving your current gig on good terms.)