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How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Arianna

As we start a new year, many of us will be working on New Year resolutions. For some it will be the same “lose weight” resolution, for others it might be “go back to school”, or “get a better job.” Focusing on the last resolution, many of us want better jobs and fail to go after them. Here at Gordian Project, we rejoice with those whom have left us and embrace the new co-workers who will soon become a part of our work family. However, many of us struggle to understand why people decide to quit their current job, especially in the economy we currently face. This blog is simply a collection of tips that will help you when moving from one job to the next. So read on and leave a comment if you agree or disagree.

There are several reasons why someone chooses to move on. Some leave for personal reasons, others financial, while others still have life events that cause changes to happen.  Barbara Safani wrote about why people quit their jobs in a tough economy, and the reasons are pretty good reasons. People often postpone quitting their jobs because not only is it a delicate subject between the employee and employer but it is often seen as a negative or bad decision. Safani ends her article explaining, “If you are unemployed or dissatisfied in your current position, you too may benefit from the surge of vacancies left by others who voluntarily resign. A job that is not a good match for another person may be the perfect match for you.”

With this said, I wanted to focus on the quitting process. We understand why people quit, and we understand that quitting a job is a natural part of career progress; however we also need to understand how to quit without burning bridges.

First you need to realize that though it is not a negative decision, it is a delicate subject. Knowing when to inform your employer that you are leaving will help you confirm your decision. Often times when an employee tells their superior that they are quitting due to extra benefits or increased salaries, the employer will want to counter-offer and meet those extra benefits to try and convince the employee to stay. This is why it is important for you to inform your employer of the benefits you are being offered before saying “I’m quitting.” If the company can make you a good counter-offer, then you may want to stay with them, and if they cannot, then that can help to make your decision easier.

Second, use your communication skills to make sure your announcement is said and received in a positive manner. Instead of explaining how you hate your job, explain how you found a position where you can use your skills and which is closer to your passion. Talk about how good the change is for you and how much you will miss those around you. Don’t burn bridges. Maybe the company cannot counter-offer the benefits you are looking for, but at a later time they may be able to provide you with an even better position. If you don’t burn bridges you may get a future employment offer, but at the very least you will have a positive recommendation as you move forward in your work career.

Third, be professional and provide a complete two week notice. Less and less people provide their employers with a notice, and the truth is that it can show how professional you are and how much you cared about your co-workers and the company by how much time you give them to prepare for your departure.  If you cannot provide a notice, provide your employer with a written letter explaining the circumstances and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Lastly, throw a farewell party. Any reason is a good reason to throw a party!  Invite all your co-workers, your bosses and managers. By including all of your co-workers, you are making sure you end your current relationship on a positive note.

Remember, quitting is not a big deal when it’s done right. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have other suggestions on how to quit without burning bridges.

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