One of the most important ways to maintain your network happens when you quit a job. Leaving on good terms without burning bridges leaves the door open for you to reach out to former colleagues when you need to find a new job, need an introduction to a prospective client, or you just need some professional advice. Here’s how to quit without burning bridges:
- Tell your boss not your Watercooler Friends. You don’t want your boss to hear the news from someone else. Although tempting, telling a coworker before your boss can lead to some awkward situations, and it may give your boss cause to let you go before you’re planning to leave. Tell your boss in an in-person meeting to give the two of you a chance to discuss your reason for leaving. Bonus: doing so shows that you aim to leave on good terms.
- Give notice. Although you may not be contractually obligated to give notice, it is a courtesy that your supervisor will greatly appreciate. If you don’t have a set start date for your next job, consider offering to work longer to give the company more time to fill your position, especially if you’re higher up in the company. The more senior your role, the longer it may take to fill.
- Stay focused while tying up loose ends. You may have a case of “senioritis” knowing you’ll be leaving soon, but remember to stay focused on your responsibilities. Continuing to produce quality work will leave a good impression on your coworkers and boss.
- Do a thorough handover. Train your replacement for success. You’ve done a lot of hard work to get your role and projects to where they are today, so don’t let your work go to waste. You’ll most be remembered for how you left—not the amazing work you did on a project that took place years ago when you first started. Make a list of all your projects that your replacement will be working on, create workflow documents, and leave instructions to help others take on new projects successfully and efficiently.
- Avoid gossip. There’s no better way to burn bridges than by gossiping. Even if you’ve had a terrible time working there, don’t say so. Leaving gracefully and politely is better than leaving on bad terms and leaving a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths.
- Avoid oversharing. Remember, the folks you’re saying goodbye to are still (happily) employed at the organization. Restrain from oversharing about the great perks, awesome salary, and the myriad of reasons your new place outshines the old place.
- Write a thank-you to your boss. Thank your boss for the opportunity to work at the company, and perhaps add some things that you learned on the job that you’re especially grateful for.
Leaving on good terms lets you and your employer gracefully move on, and it positions both of you for success in the future. Building and maintaining your professional network gives you a network to turn to when you need it – just remember to reciprocate!
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