how to quit your job and get your boss to invite you back

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! how to quit your job and get your boss to invite you back

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?

10 comments on “Quitting a Job in Style”

  1. Yes! I think having your elevator spiel about the new job will save you so much grief. When I left my last job I felt unprepared to answer people’s questions because I didn’t prepare. It’s a small thing, but having a few sentences prepared makes it easier to get through those two weeks.

    1. Reply

      It’s crazy how it goes from nobody knowing (or maybe 1-2 close coworkers), to everyone asking for the story and wanting the gossip!

  2. I think the biggest part is that, no matter how much you hate your job, don’t burn those bridges. Even if you never ever want to go back to that one, there’s no guarantee that a job you do want in the future won’t have some of those old coworkers/have heard something from them. Just keep all options open 🙂

    1. Reply

      Yes, don’t burn those bridges!

  3. Reply

    I’ve been with my current company for a while now(10+ years) and reading this will be a great guide for me if/when I do leave. I’m on good terms with everyone I’ve worked with here (from my POV) and although it will be mixed emotions if that day comes, the best way is to prepare for it and reading this will help. Thanks Mrs. Kiwi!!

    1. Reply

      No problem! Congrats on staying with one company for so long, it’s awesome when you find a good fit!

  4. Reply

    Great article! I find elevator spiels and explaining why I’m quitting easier when I’m leaving because it’s become the wrong fit. Once the exit is in sight, I can look at things more objectively so it’s easier not to burn bridges.

    Those same conversations are harder when I still enjoy the work, like my co-workers etc but simply want something different and there’s no career advancement. I never say I’m bored but I feel like a bit of a fraud and worry this might show.

    Anyone else had this experience?

    1. Reply

      It’s tough when that happens. Being vague feels like a lie, but it’s definitely acceptable!

  5. I had quite a few jobs in my early years that I never wanted to see again where I didn’t leave as gracefully as I should have, but I’m really lucky that I changed industries entirely each time so it didn’t come back to haunt me. Now I would expect to give at least a month notice (given my seniority and position, it might be more) but that’s also because I know my employer would treat me well and not expect me to leave immediately on giving notice. I used to always keep my desk space impersonal and clear, though, because I didn’t want to get emotionally attached to a space or have a messy exit if things took a bad turn. Working for toxic bosses meant I was pretty wary for a long time!

  6. Reply

    I quit my job at my first employer to go back to grad school. I’d quit in my mind long before I made it official. A large part of me still wishes that I hadn’t quit and rather waited for layoffs. Severance would have come in handy going into two years with no income. Congrats on getting funding for school. That’s an awesome accomplishment

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