How to Quit Your Job…Gracefully

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I know, this is not the time to be talking about leaving your job. These days, it’s nice to have one. That said, there are circumstances when it’s time to move on, especially if your significant other has landed a big job in another city, or if you’ve been interning for low or no pay and received another offer for more money and better benefits. 


The point is, you've made the decision to leave your present employer and that’s that.  So what's the best way to exit with tact, grace and aplomb? A few suggestions:

Keep resignation letter short and polite.  Don't complain, attack or vent about your boss, co-workers, benefits or salary. You can say a few kind words about the company but that's it.  The shorter the better. These letters have a habit of popping up in the strangest places.

Brief your successor. Meet with your boss about who will take over your work and responsibilities. Write up a status report on the major projects you've been working on and include deadlines. Ask you boss how he or she wants external clients to be notified about you leaving the company.


Ask for a reference.  If your departure is amicable, ask your boss for a recommendation letter.  Let him or her know that you’ll give them a heads up should you list them as a reference in the future. 

Work hard till the end. This is not the time to slack off on work or work hours. Try to finish all your projects or at least be ahead of schedule.

Ask HR about benefits due you. Arrange to collect monies for any unused vacation time, unpaid salary, or any other benefits. Find out when your medical, dental, and vision insurance becomes inactive. Ideally, your last day should fall near the beginning of the month so that your benefits remain in force until the last day of that month. Set up this meeting early to ease the transition from your current employer's benefits to the new one. If your HR manager asks for an exit interview, be nice and positive. 

Clean Out Your Work Area/Desk/Computer. Delete all personal files and e-mails from your computer. Clean out your cube, desk, and any other physical workspace. Check your desk and cubicle crevices for private notes, phone numbers, personal photos, paycheck stubs and other personal items. 


Beware the goodbye party. Many employees have made fools of themselves at these parties, especially if liquor is involved. Be guarded, don't get "bombed" and "open up" about your boss, co-workers and the company. Remember, this is the last impression they'll have of you. So look and act like a professional. 

So there it is. While others may criticize you for quitting in these tough times, at least you’ll be leaving on the right note.  




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