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The reasons for leaving your job might be by your choice or by the employer’s decision. Either you have considered all of the pros and cons of leaving and have made a firm decision to go, or your employer has terminated you. Either way, there is recommended ways to leave your job with professionalism and goodwill. Follow these tips, because the way you leave your position can affect your future career.
Step One – Plan Your Exit
Inconspicuously take your things home. At the same time, take any notes, contacts and files that belong to you. Do not, however, take any proprietary information that belongs to the company. Gather samples of your work if you need them for your portfolio.
Examine your finances; can you handle this transition? If you know the company is letting people go, it is time to start saving your money. Try paying down your debt right away or transfer credit card balances to a lower interest rate card. Pare down your spending on non-essential items. Consider a car that gets better gas mileage, etc.
Take a look at any non-compete contracts that you signed upon hire. You may be prohibited to work for a competitor.
Take advantage of your health and dental insurance. Go get check-ups, tests and exams while you are covered. Get your teeth and eyes taken care of as well.
Step Two - Resign
Prepare your resignation letter. Your letter should include the date that you plan to be your last day. Your notice should allow for the time as stipulated in your company’s policy or in your contract. Usually two weeks is appropriate unless otherwise stated. You also want to abide by your new employer’s start date.
Deliver your letter in person to your immediate supervisor. Let the chain of command know that you are leaving from the bottom up. You don’t want to go over your boss’s head. That would be hurtful and insulting.
Afterwards, if it is appropriate, you can send a group email to your co-workers and customers announcing your intention to move on. You can include any professional contact information such as a LinkedIn profile page.
Step Three – Handle the Fallout
Deal with the responses to your resignation in a positive manner. Avoid revealing details of your new job to your co-workers. Your new pay and job title are your business and you don’t want to cause jealously or hard feelings. Don’t engage in any negative conversations about your job or company with disgruntled co-workers.
In the time that you are still there, work hard and offer to train your replacement. By helping the company transfer your job to someone new, you are helping to keep your reputation as a team player. Don’t take advantage of your situation by goofing off. Do your job in the same way as always and finish up any projects.
Get ready for any meetings with your superiors. They are going to want to know why you are leaving. Stay positive and thankful for the opportunity for working there. Professionals will be happy for you and will not make your exit uncomfortable. Two things can happen at these meetings. You may be asked to leave immediately as the company may not want someone to stay on who can steal important information. The second thing to happen might be the employer offers you a raise or promotion to stay. Carefully consider this. You are leaving for a good reason. That reason will not go away with more money, or will it?
Step 4 – Final Duties
Before you go, tidy up last minute items. Say goodbye to everyone. Thank anyone who has helped you along the way; this is the polite and professional thing to do. You may encounter any of these people in future jobs. After all, people move around. If you can, ask for reference letters from supervisors, managers or department heads.
Go to your exit interview as a formality. This is not the opportunity to vent personal grievances against the company or its employees. You want to leave on a good note.
If you are losing your job, there may be benefits to which you are entitled. Ask about severance pay and unused vacation pay.
Step 5 - After You Leave
You are not obligated to take any phone calls for help from your previous job unless you have a consulting contract. If they really need your expertise, they can pay you to consult.
Most experts agree that abiding by the above mentioned tips is the best way to leave a job. While it is tempting to make your daydream come true and leave abruptly while telling people your nasty opinions of them, it is best to move on and enjoy the new experiences that are coming your way.