Table of Contents
Click on a section to skip
Table of Contents
There are many ways you can tell your boss you’re quitting your current job. You may be thinking about dancing your way out of the door, baking a resignation cake, or even shutting down Trump’s Twitter account.
However, going out with a bang rarely pays off. What about leaving with grace and professionalism instead?
It’s just too easy to cut off the branch you’re sitting on. But if you quit the right way, you have a great chance to end up with a strong network that will support you in your future.
There’s no doubt everyone wants this process to be as painless and smooth as possible. You must be well prepared to react in a suitable way to anything that the conversation might bring.
1. Prepare the scene
First of all, set up a meeting to deliver the news in person. Rather than talking to your boss at an inconvenient moment, you want to talk one-on-one and without distractions.
As far as the meeting goes, you have a lot of control over the situation. It’s you who should lead the conversation, not your boss.
Also, remind yourself that quitting is a natural part of the working world. You’re not the first and not the last guy who’s ever quit. And no matter how irreplaceable you think you are — your boss is sure to find a replacement soon.
Keeping these things in mind will help you create some distance between you and your job, making the conversation just a little easier.
2. Express gratitude
Even if you’re really angry and unhappy, there’s always something good you can say about your job.
Think about things you’re grateful for. There might not be many, but each of them counts. So always remember to keep things positive and pepper the conversation with expressions of gratitude:
- Start out by expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to learn new skills and grow in your current position.
- Say how grateful you are for the inspiration and support you’ve got from your employer. Emphasize how much you’ve learned from his expertise. Your boss will appreciate your recognition of how he’s influenced your life and career in a meaningful way.
- Express thanks for the chance to work with your colleagues. Make sure to give credit to specific members of your team you’ve enjoyed working with.
3. Remember the reasons why you’re leaving
Now that you filled your conversation with appreciation, it’s time to change the tone and say that you need to move on.
Once you’ve already made up your mind, stop thinking about all the reasons to stay. Before entering the manager’s office, remind yourself of your motivation for looking for a new job in the first place. Why made you make this move? Was it a higher-level position, more meaningful work, shorter commute, higher salary or better work-life balance?
Make it clear that your quitting is a result of your dreams and aspirations. Naturally, you want your boss to see you are quitting to chase your goals rather than running away out of frustration.
Regardless of the motivation you had for making a change, you’re going to feel great once the conversation is over. Keeping this feeling in mind will help you stay calm, positive and energized rather than losing control over the situation.
4. Don’t disclose too much
There’s one advice for talking about your future prospects — be honest, but brief.
Your employer is not entitled to know where or why you’re moving on. There’s no reason to leak details of your new company’s awesome perks or how much more you’ll be making.
Whichever way the conversation goes, it’s particularly important that you don’t feel guilty about moving on or feel like you need to over-explain. In this way, you won’t feel under pressure to reveal everything about your next move.
You can also speak in general terms and allude to your new job in a general way:
5. Avoid burning bridges and venting
Although you may have complained about a thousand different things while working at your company, you need to leave these things behind.
Keep any negative feelings to yourself. Building bridges takes time, but you can burn them in a flick of a moment. Don’t destroy your connections and valuable friendships. It would be the dumbest thing to do when quitting.
Remember that nobody fired you. It was your call to leave for a better opportunity. So even if it’s your boss that is the reason why you’re leaving, don’t make it personal. Maintain your composure and keep emotions in check. This will help you remember your final day as the day of firm handshakes and perhaps even a few hugs.
Similarly to your first interview, the last conversation with your employer should leave him with a good impression rather than embarrassing memories. You never know when your paths cross again, especially if you intend to stay in the same industry or city. And also the more professional your farewell turns out to be, the easier it will be to get a decent reference from your former boss later on.
If you feel your boss is open to criticism and you’d like to give some feedback, do so face-to-face and in a constructive manner. Instead of bringing up any negative reasons, focus on the positive aspects of your new position:
6. Show that you’re willing to help with the transition
It’s best to quit in a way that will ensure a smooth transition and minimise disruption to your employer. Still, you may unintentionally leave the company in dire straits and your employer’s business can suffer due to a void in expertise and experience.
There are many things you can do to ease the situation. Prepare clear documentation of your work, complete your ongoing projects and tell your boss that you’ll keep your eyes peeled for potential candidates.
It’s very likely that the company will need your guidance and expertise to train your successor. Your boss may also ask you whether they can reach out to you in the future with questions. So if you happen to be leaving on amicable terms, consider making yourself available in the weeks or months to come.
On the other hand, you need to set some boundaries up front. That way you will save yourself from being continually bombarded with endless phone calls and emails as you’re trying to move on to the next thing.
7. Determine the date of your last day
The traditional amount of notice is 2 weeks. But this can also depend on the type of contract, your position or the current projects you’re responsible for.
Alternatively, a situation may arise when you may be unable to provide the required notice. If that happens, ask your employer politely if there is any way you could end employment sooner.
All in all, you and your boss should agree on an official termination date that will be your last day of employment. Any accrued compensation or benefits will be calculated as of that date.
8. Don’t breach any confidentiality and non-compete agreements
Look at your contract carefully. It may contain a confidentiality (non-disclosure) agreement with your employer.
The document serves to protect any type of information that the employer deems valuable. And the violation of its terms by sharing your employer’s confidential and proprietary information could easily put you in legal hot water.
Last but not least, make sure you’re not under the obligation of a non-compete agreement that could prevent you from breaking free from your current employer and starting your own business.
However, if that’s the case, review the terms and conditions carefully and consult an attorney to determine your next steps.
9. Be prepared for every scenario
After you’ve said your piece, it’s time to wait for your boss to respond. However, there are about a million different ways how he can react.
He can ask you to leave immediately, stay a bit longer than you expected or make you reconsider your decision by offering a considerable pay rise.
The best way to deal with this uncertainty is to prepare for every possibility. Consider the following outcomes:
- “Leaving now” scenario. Chances are your employer will ask you to pack up your things right away and cut off electronic access to any documents you worked with. Be also prepared to say farewell to your company-owned equipment and turn in things like a company car, phone, laptop, pager or tablet immediately after expressing your intentions.
- “Staying longer” scenario. Even if you’re already thinking of your next job, it might still be feasible for you to stay a couple of weeks longer than you originally intended. Be smart and consider asking your employer for a positive reference or recommendation letter in return.
- “No quitting” scenario. What to do when your boss wants you to stay? If you’re still undecided, ask for some time so that you can sleep on it. Stay rational and weigh all the pros and cons. If it makes sense to stay, do so. But bear in mind that even if you decide to stay on board, your attempt to quit is very likely to affect your relationship with your boss in the future.
Don’t be afraid to tell your boss you’re quitting
Talking to your boss can often be quite difficult, especially when it comes to quitting. But believe me — once it’s done, you’ll feel a huge surge of relief and happiness.
It will mean that you once again reclaimed control over your career and decided to carve your own path. And that’s what people call freedom, I suppose!