How to Leave Your Job Without Burning Bridges

Resigning from your job means you’re ready to move on. You may even be tempted to put your feet up and ride out your two weeks, or tell everyone what you actually think about them.  No matter how much you want to do these things—don’t. You may need references from former bosses or colleagues in the future, so burning all your bridges could hinder your future career advancement. Use these tips to leave your job gracefully no matter how ready you are to put the role behind you.

Give Proper Notice

Two weeks is standard notice, but if you have a contract with your employer, you may be required to give more than that. No matter how excited you may be to start your new job, make sure to give your employer the courtesy of proper notice.

Write a Respectful Resignation Letter

No matter how much you may dislike your workplace or your boss, make sure to write a respectful resignation letter. It can be short, but it should always be professional. Clearly state the fact that you are resigning, provide your last full day of employment and thank your boss for the opportunity.

Resign Face-to-Face

Don’t resign in an email or over the phone. Sit down with your boss and have a face-to-face conversation.  Be polite and professional, and provide your boss with your signed resignation letter. It might also be wise to email a copy to your Human Resources department and hand deliver a copy there, as well—especially if you don’t particularly trust your boss.

Document Your Tasks

Odds are slim that your boss will hire your replacement before you are gone, so take the time to document your job and provide helpful hints on getting those tasks done. Not only will this help the new person, it will also help your coworkers who will be stuck with your tasks until a new hire is up to speed. Make sure to include things like:

  • Regular reports
  • Passwords
  • Client lists
  • Pre-scheduled, recurring meetings
  • Project status
  • Procedures

Work Until Your Last Day

It is very hard to remain engaged when you know you’re out the door soon, but it is important to work until the very end. This is proper professional form, but it also ensures you leave on a high note. If you slack off and do nothing for two weeks, that’s what your boss will remember about you and will repeat in a future employment verification or reference check call. If you work until the very end, you’ll be remembered as someone who gave it their all.

Looking For a Great New Job? Contact The Reserves Network!

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