Quitting a Job in Style
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As some of you know, Mr. Kiwi quit his job a few weeks ago, and achieved what most people quitting their job should hope to receive: an offer to come back to your previous employer. While it is fun to jet off and try new things, hunt for the correct job fit, or go back to school, sometimes the new idea isn’t what you expected! Having that offer to return to your previous employer helps make that leap a little easier!
Until you’ve gone through the experience of quitting a job, it’s tough to understand the mixed bag of emotions that come with quitting. Excitement for the new opportunity, fear for the next steps, nerves around making the announcement, and feelings of abandoning your coworkers…it’s overwhelming.
And while Mr. Kiwi has zero intention of returning to his exact former job, quitting with grace helps strengthen professional bonds, and secure solid references for the future. My network has landed me all of my full time jobs, and it doesn’t take much work to build a strong professional network.
Here’s what we do to quit and land that offer to return:
1. Work hard until you leave
It took over a year for Mr. Kiwi to apply, get accepted, and secure funding for grad school. Even though he felt fairly confident everything would work out and he’d have a new job “soon.” He continued working hard on his projects at his now former employer.
It is tempting to let your responsibilities fade while you are job hunting and interviewing. But remember you are getting paid by your current employer, so work hard!
2. Give at least two weeks’ notice
Don’t run out after quitting never to be heard from again! Be professional and give at least two weeks notice, but be prepared for them to tell you to leave that day.
3. Offer to help ease the transition
Are there parts of your job that nobody else knows to do? Ask your manager how they would like you to share that knowledge.
Also, if you are comfortable provide your boss with your email address so they can reach you with any questions shortly after you leave. Chances are you will only get a couple of clarifying emails if you’ve updated people on your work and projects before leaving. If they abuse this privilege politely remind them that you are no longer an employee.
4. Pack up some of your stuff ahead of time, but not too much
Cleaning up your desk area is a small signal that may help signal you are looking to leave. I’ve normally waited to do this until I’ve fully negotiated the next offer, only one or two days before quitting. This makes it a lot easier if they tell you to leave that day.
5. Be prepared with your elevator spiel for what you are doing next
Your boss, coworkers, and everyone in your life will be asking you, “What’s next?” Now is the time to nail down that pitch. Practice it before quitting on your friends or family. They will help you to not break down and not freak out!
6. Go out to lunch with any managers or coworkers in your last two weeks that helped you
Take time and be human, if you are quitting on rough terms, wait a few months until emotions have calmed. But building professional relationships will help you earn better references down the line, get you pointed in the right direction in your career, and help you improve your negotiation skills.
I am not big on professional/personal relationships. But in every job I’ve had, I’ve found one mentor to turn to for advice, and one peer to go to with questions.
7. Explain why you are quitting
When you leave your manager confused, they are going to fill in the blanks with the worst possible reasons. Within reason quit and make it clear why you are leaving. You probably don’t want to be 100% honest, but this is your chance to let your employer improve for the person that slides into your position next.
What has quitting been like for you? Do you have any tips for how to quit snag that offer to return?