How to Leave Your Job in a Professional Manner
Maybe you've been thinking about leaving your current job for a while, maybe your boss or a colleague has annoyed you and convinced you it's time to pack it in, or maybe your current job is displaying many of our 9 Signs It's Time To Kiss Your Job Goodbye. Alternatively (and this is our favourite variation) you got an offer through Techloop which you never would have dreamed of otherwise.
Regardless of your reasons (and often intense feelings) it's worth leaving your job in a professional way without unnecessarily burning bridges. The world is small and you never know when you might run into your former boss or colleague again. So, how can you keep your head and leave with your dignity and professionalism intact? Here are our 5 top tips.
GOOD TIMING IS ESSENTIAL
Before informing your superiors of your sweet, secret departure, think about when would be the best moment to do so. There is no absolutely perfect time, but handing in your notice before an important deadline or in the middle of a project of which you are an important cog isn't the best idea. Try to see your departure through the eyes of your boss and the whole company in general and, as far as possible, take their point of view into consideration.
The ideal scenario is to let your boss know sufficiently in advance that she or he has time to find a replacement for you (which is no small task in IT), or at least divide your tasks up between your colleagues. It is of course important to consider the possibility that your boss will be so wounded by your leaving that they flog you to death in your final couple of months at work.
Once you've thought everything through and the right time comes, sit down with your boss and tell them face to face about your plans to leave (at this point your colleagues still shouldn't know that you're leaving, that would come across as quite unprofessional) and afterwards send your formal resignation.
TRY TO STAY POSITIVE
In this meeting your boss will in all likelihood ask you why you are leaving. Even if you have have a long list of frustrations and disappointments, try to keep a cool head and focus on the positive reasons for your departure and don't rock the boat too much. It's better to emphasise the new opportunities and possibilities for growth which your new job offers.
LEAVE YOUR FEELINGS OUT OF IT
Leaving a job can already be an emotionally charged thing, especially if your heart hasn't been in your job for the past few months. Nevertheless, try to control yourself and don't vent your dissatisfaction in front of your boss or colleagues. Even if you have many reasons to be upset, it's better in the long run not to upset the apple cart.
Of course, if the reason for your departure is some kind of serious problem in the workplace, it's definitely worthwhile informing HR who may be able to address it in the future. But getting emotional or confrontational won't help in any way.
DON'T BURN BRIDGES
The likelihood that you'll meet some of your co-workers again later in your career is extremely high. This is why professionalism during your departure is absolutely crucial. Apart from the fact that you might work with someone from your old company in the future, it's worth staying in touch for references or when looking for clients. Another reason not to tell anyone to take a running jump (even if you really want to).
TALK TO YOUR COLLEAGUES AND CLIENTS PERSONALLY
To change jobs in the most professional manner possible, you should also let your colleagues (and maybe your clients) know that you're leaving. If you can't do it face to face, at least send them an e-mail. These conversations aren't exactly pleasant but they are important for maintaining good working relationships and for a classy exit.
A change of job often means new challenges and opportunities and if you can leave your old job with grace, it will help your career in the long run. So take a deep breath and go in with a cool head.