I was recently asked what steps, if any, one should take when leaving a current job.
Without hesitation, the manner in which you leave a company can (and will) haunt you. Just ask Dwight about the negative consequence when requesting (or demanding) movement. Quite bluntly, there are right ways (professional courtesy takes the lead) and not-so right ways (temper tantrums and threats) to leaving… much depends if you want to build or burn the bridge you’ve worked hard to construct.
Tip of the decade: BEFORE you consider leaving, make sure you’ve considered how it will affect your employer, your career footprint, and that leaving is what you really want to do.
Rule #1: Don’t make a rash or emotional decision
Unless you are put in an extreme moral or ethical dilemma, or an illegal activity, consider holding off at least 24 hours until finalizing your decision. Making hasty judgments based upon what might be a minor situation typically is not in your best interest.
The value of holding off until the following day gives you time to cool down, think rationally, and discuss the pros and cons of making a life-changing decision. For clarity, be sure and review the situation and your reasoning with a close peer or family member (specifically your life partner) in person… not over Facebook or Twitter.
After the emotional dust settles and, if you are determined to part ways, consider two possible paths and decide which works for you. Here’s my take on what NOT to do versus what you should do.
Here’s what you should NOT do when quitting your job:
* Do the Dwight (samples of his bad behavior available upon request)
* Ignore your responsibility by not showing up to work when you are scheduled to be there
* Text or use Twitter to let your boss know you are leaving
* Yell, blame, or use nasty language while walking out the door
* Blasting your boss or company on the Internet
Now that you know a few of the things NOT to do, let’s take a look at a few things you should do:
* Possess a positive attitude and professional demeanor
* Develop a well-written letter of resignation, highlighting positive things about the company, the people, and the products/services
* Give a minimum of a two-week notice
* Consider how your leaving will affect the company and your co-workers
* Continue working hard and productively up to (and including) your last day
Rule #2: Display professionalism at all times
Changing jobs rarely is easy. For the employer, it takes time to locate and train new employees and this could mean a loss of revenue (if a sales person leaves) or it could mean a disruption of service (if a technician or office personnel calls it quits). Without proper notification and time for a replacement, you put your previous boss and company in jeopardy.
Rule #3: Slamming the former boss/company could dunk your career
Employers appreciate employees willing to do the right thing upon departure and typically will “pay it forward” in the form of a solid professional reference. According to employer surveys, business references have increased dramatically as future employers value the opinion of former supervisors. How do you think a potential employer would react if he or she contacted your former supervisor and nothing but unkind words were shared? Thought you would agree with me.
Still thinking about NOT doing the right thing, take a look at how Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard is handling his attempt to leave the Amway… just saying. Ultimately, the choice, manner, and consequence are up to you.
Looking for sample resignation letters as well as additional information about this or any other career-related topic, use the comment field and our team of certified writers and coaches will take care of you. For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.
Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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