It might sound funny, but if you’re thinking about quitting your job (or any other kind of commitment) you need to go about it like you’re applying for one. That means taking time to do some planning and preparation, so you, your boss, and your team, all come out of it breathing easy.
There’s heaps of info out there on how to actually get a job, but checking out of your first “real” job can seem daunting and totally foreign. Didn’t it take blood, sweat and tears, to get you hired in the first place? Are you being a delusional millennial thinking you deserve something more? The truth is, your career path is really made up of many cycles — every job will begin, and eventually have a natural end (in fact, our generation will have about 17 jobs across 5 careers on average). For the sake of your professional future, here’s how to sign off gracefully:
1. Be absolutely sure
Do you really want to quit, or are you just itching to sleep in a little longer? There’s a difference between being unhappy at work, and not bouncing out of bed to get to the office every day. When unhappiness at work starts to become unhappiness in your personal life, that’s when it’s time to think about quitting. As a young person, it’s also worth paying attention to when you feel like you have no more to learn. Remember to take into account whether any of your rights as an employee have been breached as this is also a good sign that it might be time to quit.
2. Be prepared
It’s worth brushing up on your contract, just to check how much notice you’ll need to give and what you’re entitled to upon leaving. You need to think about the period between jobs too — it’s really easy to quit in an emotional moment and end up stuck not being able to pay rent — so make sure you’re lining up your next job as close as you can to finishing this one (or that you’ve got the finances to carry you in between).
3. Make sure everyone else is prepared too
Give as much notice as possible. This gives your boss and your team time to start figuring out how they can fill that gap when you’re gone, and it gives you a reasonable timeframe to find your next job. Start handing over your workload to whoever will be taking on those tasks, and give them as much info as possible to make your absence a little less of a strain. Your boss and everyone around you will appreciate that you’ve taken the time and effort to sail off smoothly, while they keep their own boat afloat.
4. Be kind
No one wants to leave things with a sour taste in their mouth, even if you’ve had difficulties at work in the past. Leave the bitterness behind and (at least appear to) be grateful for the position and opportunities given to you. After all, you never know who your next boss or colleagues might be, so it’s worth proving that you can be cool, calm, collected, and downright professional. Thank your work mates for the good things they’ve given you, and don’t use saying goodbye as an opportunity to rant or seek revenge. It’s worth bringing something to share on your last day as well — a minute for cupcakes, donuts, coffees and thankyous, always goes down nicely. Be a sweet memory, not a sour one.