how to quit your job
As you probably know by now, I finished my previous role back in December. But the process of quitting is always a lot more complex than your last day. Through the years, I’ve also seen this being handled very poorly (even by myself in previous organizations) so, here’s your guide on how to quit.
I had to leave my job formally three times in my professional career. On the first one, it was relatively simple and straight forward: I was just moving overseas, so I gave my company a heads up that this was a possibility and, a couple of months later, I gave my 4 weeks notice.
On the second one, it was a whole lot more complicated. I was very bitter about the company I was working for (it’s a story for another post) and a persistent recruiter had stayed in touch with me through the years. Quitting this role, was out of despise, a bit of a big “FU” trying to make a point that I was unhappy and unheard.
On my last role, the reasons for leaving were complicated, both on the personal and professional front. But I told myself that I was not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. I told my boss that I as leaving in August and worked through a plan to handover everything until my last day in December. This might sound a bit of an overkill, but it had to be done.
Leaving your job comes in two stages: “Quitting” and “Resigning”.
If you are not actively looking out there in the market, or have a recruiter friend you talk to regularly, you are doing a disservice to your professional career (also, something for another post). At some point in time during those chats and that market research, “quitting” will happen. This will occur just in your head, it’s just a mental state. “Quitting” is the decision you make, telling yourself that you are ok to move on. It’s that peace of mind with the fact that your current role or organization is not what you need (either personally or professionally) anymore.
“Resigning” is where you will have to show your maturity and professionalism, and here’s how to avoid burning any bridges.
Before talking to your boss, have a plan
If you answer these questions, you’ll cover 99% of your handover:
If you were picking your project(s) up , what would you like to know about them? What documentation should you create or update?
What are the key relationships you’ve built over the years that would benefit anyone jumping into the project? Which introductions should you make?
What tools and systems are you using to do your job? Would access and/or licenses need to be transferred to someone else?
Do you have a Job Description you can use as a point of reference? (even if it is outdated)
Who should know about your resignation in advance, how are you telling them and what are timeframes for that?
Once you have all these answer, how much time do you need to execute the plan?
Talk to your boss face to face
You’ve been working for this person for a while and he/she is the reason why you are in the company. You should have the guts to have this conversation. If you have your plan, this should be easy.
Know why you are leaving and be honest about it.
If you got this far, there’s no point avoiding the awkward conversation. It's also a lot worse in your head than in real life.
Don’t kiss and tell
Be discrete about your resignation. You don’t want to create a reputation that you can’t keep a business matter confidential.
Be prepared to do some favours
As much as we’d like to think that the world revolves around us, it actually doesn’t. Someone’s resignation can be very disruptive for an organization, so they might ask you to stay longer or to put extra effort to finish something. You can counter this by being prepared with point 1, the plan.
One last thing
Eventually, you will leave the company you are working for. So you might as well do it like a professional. Once you become you go up the ranks in an organization and get more responsibility, you will want the people that report to you to behave the same way.