7 tips for quitting your job without burning your bridges

When you resign, make sure you leave with your reputation

Received a job offer you’ve been dreaming about? Before you celebrate, there’s an unpleasant task to complete: quitting your current job.

Whether you’ve loved or loathed your current role, it’s a good long-term strategy to leave on good terms. Protect your reputation (and future employer recommendations) by following these tips.

1. Cover your bases

It’s exciting to be offered a new role, but before you go rushing to see your manager to deliver the news, make sure all the necessary paperwork is in place confirming the new position.

2. Tell your manager you're resigning first

Even if you have a close group of friends in the workplace, it’s highly inappropriate to tell anyone else before you have spoken with your manager. Be especially wary of sharing the news with your fellow direct reports.

3. Choose an appropriate time to quit

Once you’ve made the decision to quit your job, it’s tempting to rush in and get your resignation over and done with. But be mindful that the news is likely to be a surprise for your manager and they will want time to process the information and decide on next steps. Breaking the news prior to an important meeting is best avoided.

4. Be as honest and consistent

You don’t have to tell your manager what you’re doing next if you don’t want to. But if you don’t tell your manager, don’t tell other people. They are certain to feel miffed if they find out from someone else where you are going after receiving a vague response from you.

5. Prepare a handover plan

Work closely with your manager to agree on your duties in the lead up to your departure date and agree on any training or documentation required for the person taking over your role.

6. Hold your tongue

With a new horizon in sight, it may be tempting to start speaking your mind regarding issues that have been annoying you. You never know who you will run into again – or work alongside - later in your career, so forgo the short term satisfaction of getting it all off your chest.  

7. Keep earning your pay

It’s tempting to slack off a little when the end is near. But ask yourself honestly if that is fair. Your employer is still obliged to pay you a full salary during your notice period, so do the right thing and earn it. If you’re about to quit your job, try a little role reversal first. Remember, your manager is a person too, so before you sit down for the big conversation, think about three or four ways that this will impact them. When you make your big announcement, acknowledge the impact of these things.

Tips on how to resign professionally:

  • Wait for a signed offer or contract before telling anyone you are leaving
  • Don’t let your manager hear the news from anyone else
  • Maintain your productivity right up until your farewell event

Give it a go

If you’re about to quit your job, try a little role reversal first. Remember, your manager is a person too, so before you sit down for the big conversation, think about three or four ways that this will impact them. When you make your big announcement, acknowledge the impact of these things.


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