Leaving a Job

Every single one of us will leave a job at some point. For some people they will have made the decision themselves whilst, for the more misfortunate, the decision will have been taken out of their hands. You might leave a job because you have been offered a better one elsewhere but there are many different reasons why you might choose to leave, e.g. ill health, relocating etc. Whatever your reason for leaving, you should always try to leave on good terms, with only fond memories to look back on and to leave with some ‘class’. No matter what issues or problems you may have encountered in your job, you’ve made the decision now so it’s always better to part on good terms and with no recriminations.

Here are some useful pieces of advice to leave your job in the correct manner, all of which assume that you’ve followed the correct procedure for handing in your notice:

During Your Final Few Weeks

It would be very easy to ‘step off the gas’ or to cause disruption during the weeks between you having handed in your notice and the actual date of your departure but to do that wouldn’t be very stylish at best and, at worst, you could ruin the chance of walking away with a glowing reference which you might well need in the future. The way to approach your leaving date is to do whatever you can to help your successor in the role. If they’re already shadowing you, now is a great time to pass on any useful tips and offer them advice.

At this stage, your boss, whilst still expecting you to work for your pay, is more likely to be concerned with you being able to pass on any useful skills and knowledge to your successor as opposed to wanting you to bust a gut yourself. Even if your successor has not yet been appointed, it might be a good idea to compile a dossier for them in order to enable them to hit the ground running more easily once they start work. If necessary and appropriate, ask your boss if he would like you to do this instead of performing your normal duties. And, unless you are genuinely ill, once your resignation has been accepted, you should try not to be absent from work and still turn up on time.

Be Courteous on Your Final Day

If you have been a loyal worker and colleague, both your boss and your co-workers will have likely made some kind of plan for the day you leave. It might include a celebratory lunch or trip to the pub or maybe they’ll have clubbed together to buy you a leaving gift. In return, you should have already made plans to send thank you notes and e-mails in return – thanking your colleagues for their support and friendship and your boss for their help and for giving you any support in terms of your career development. It’s quite acceptable to exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses as, no doubt, some of your colleagues and perhaps even your boss will have become friends as well as work associates so you’ll probably want to keep in touch with some of them, at least. Remember too that your work hasn’t officially ended yet so be sure you tie up any loose ends before you leave and that your successor can move smoothly into the role.

If You’ve Not Enjoyed your Time There

I’m sure it would be very tempting to cause mischief and to bad-mouth people if you have not enjoyed your job and have disliked your boss and/or any of the people you are leaving behind but you should be mature and professional here and not stoop to that level, no matter how aggrieved your work has made you feel. Even if a boss or a colleague has been a nightmare to work with, either say something positive about them (maybe, you can vaguely recall them doing something nice for you?), or simply say nothing at all. You never know when you may run into them again in the future and need their support.

Leaving a job can often cause mixed emotions – joy that you’re moving on to something better, sadness at losing so many colleagues, some of whom will have become trusted friends and many other feelings besides. What is certain is that if you leave the ‘right’ way, it will allow you to go back to the company for any references, maintain contact with bosses and colleagues some of whom may go on to better things themselves which could result in them offering you an even better job some day, and, if things don’t work out in your new job, you might even get the opportunity to return to your old one as opposed to being out of work altogether.

As a general rule, ‘burning bridges’ is never usually a good idea when it comes to workplaces as you never know what’s around the corner and where ex-colleagues and bosses may cross your path again. It’s far better to leave with your good reputation intact.

Last Updated on 25 May 2021

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