How To Quit a Job With Class

Three experts offer advice on how to leave a job without burning bridges.

How to quit | BCBusiness

Three experts offer advice on how to leave a job without burning bridges.

The good news: you’ve been offered an excellent new position at a company you’ve long wanted to join. The bad news: you now need to quit your current job while maintaining the goodwill (and, hopefully, great reference) you’ve spent so long cultivating from your employer. We spoke with three experts on how to tackle this potentially complicated situation: Craig Jooste, managing director of W0w-1Day! Painting Inc.; Ingrid Bergmann, executive career coach and certified human resource practitioner with the BCHRMA; and Natalie Michael, managing partner and founder of executive coaching and consulting firm, The Karmichael HR Group Ltd.

Schedule a Sit-Down

Jooste and Michael both point to the importance of scheduling a private meeting to announce your departure. “Relationships have communication, and typically that communication is verbal,” Michael says. However, all communication is not created equal. “The last thing you want to do is have a hallway conversation,” says Jooste. An open setting puts a supervisor on the spot and may mean the resignation isn’t taken as seriously as it should be.

Think It Through

“Before you give notice it’s good to ask yourself if there is anything your current employer can say or do that would make you stay,” advises Michael. Going into a resignation meeting with a clear focus – admitting that a 10-per-cent raise will cause you to reconsider, or knowing that you will definitely be leaving – helps calm your nerves and ensures that you remain focused during your discussion. If you absolutely intend to resign, Jooste points to the importance of forming the suggestion of a succession plan. Rather than leave your team in a lurch, “come in with a plan – whatever you can do that helps with your desire not to burn a bridge,” he says.

Keep Quiet

Posting your daily thoughts and activities on social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn may be second nature at this point, but exercise caution when it comes to information about a new job. “Posting anything online should happen after you’ve talked to your boss,” cautions Michael, lest you risk harming the good reputation you’ve spent so long cultivating. One-on-one sharing in the office should also be kept to a minimum, says Bergmann, whose rule of thumb is “unless you feel that your colleague can keep your plan in confidence, it’s best not to share it too soon.”

Protect Yourself

Announcing your departure may be one of the last conversations you have with your employer, so “how you handle your departure will have an impact on what they say about you. You don’t want to erase their good impression of you,” Bergmann says. Alternatively, while giving early notice often helps your employer, it may affect you negatively. “If you’re going to a competitor, your employer may decide to terminate your employment early,” Michael warns. Make sure you have the cash to tide you over until your first paycheque at your new gig.