How to Exit a Job Gracefully

Posted by Patra Frame

So you have a new job offer and you are going to accept it. Good for you!

But how do you want to leave the old job? Sure there are some jobs in which like the song lyrics you may want to say ‘shove it.’ but even then it is not a wise choice to actually do so. And most often you are just ready to move on, not throw dynamite.

1. Get the new job signed and sealed first. Don’t tell anyone until you have received a written offer, finished any negotiations and accepted the offer.

2. Tell your immediate boss first. It is smart – and the proper way. Plus you may want to use him/her as a reference in the future. Not so positive if she hears it indirectly or sees it on social media first.  Best to do this in person if possible, but call and talk otherwise. This is no time for text/IM/email. And be prepared to discuss what you have to turn over, timing, and so on.

3. If you are in a job or company where they want anyone leaving to be walked out immediately, you probably know that. Do be prepared for this, if that’s the case. Be sure you have removed personal info from any electronics you have to return, before you give notice. And make sure you have retained any personal contact info too.

4. More commonly, organizations expect you to work for two weeks or more. You should be sure you make a list of unfinished projects, routine work, critical contact info, passwords, and whatever the people who will have to pick up the slack until a new person gets the job need. Sure plan a few lunches with folks you care for, but go out like the ‘pro’ you aspire to be.

5. Talk to HR to ensure you know what forms you will need for benefits and retirement savings and any other standard out-processing. If appropriate talk to your security officer soon. Be ready to turn in company property and don’t make them chase after you.

6. Be careful about telling folks why you are leaving. A nice simple statement about a surprise new opportunity or a career change you have been planning is plenty. If you had a significant problem and want to disclose it during an exit interview, do so. But do not feel you must and do not spread it around. On your online profiles, talk about the new opportunity once you move but don’t say anything bad about the organization you are leaving. Not only is it not smart in the long term, but there are folks who have lost the new job over such postings.

7. Schedule your new start date and your departure date from your current employer at least a week apart if at all possible. Sure, we hiring managers want you immediately. But giving yourself a bit of break helps you be ready for the new job – you can recharge. And be prepared for the long period before you are likely to get time off again!


This entry was posted on Monday, March 07, 2011 4:07 pm

One thought on “How to Exit a Job Gracefully”

  1. As a courtesy to your old firm, always turn in your keys. A man left our firm (in Iraq), and did not turn in his keys. We were stuck in the Iraqi desert, no way to get new keys.

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