4 Things You Need to Do When You Quit Your Job

4 Things You Need to Do When You Quit Your Job

For whatever reason, you put your employer in the rear-view mirror. Here's your new roadmap for driving away.

Congrats on the new job. But you have a little more work to do before you leave. 

Follow these 4 steps for a smooth and drama-free exit that will pay dividends in the long run:


1.  Tell your boss FIRST. And hold the sugar.

The moment you accept a new offer, you're flush with euphoria. Somebody loves me! And you probably want to spread that cheer by sharing your news with friends at the company asap. Resist that urge!  

Instead, go straight to your boss' office (or call, if not local) to tell her or him before anyone else can. If your boss hears about it from anyone other than you (and I've seen it happen), you're going to create hard feelings. 

Start by saying "I'm leaving [company name] and I wanted to tell you first". Yeah, it may be a shock. But when you beat around the bush with cliches like "This is hard for me to say..." or "I don't know how to say this..." you're just making it more awkward.

Next? If you loved it there, say so. If you didn't, just say thanks for the opportunity and you learned a lot. You may feel this is your chance to scorch the earth. Resist that urge!

Take the high road. Even if your boss is from way down south.



2. Exit Interviews are not bitch sessions.

Many firms have a formal exit process, where you sit down with an HR rep to discuss leaving. I've had these talks and you may be goaded into saying negative things. Guess what? Resist that urge! And mention any positives you can. Even the free coffee.


3. Leave on a high 'note'.

Bosses, mentors, co-workers, clients...ANYONE there you had a strong connection with deserves to know it.

A recent colleague of mine sent hand-written notes to two senior executives whom she considered mentors. Sure, email is fine (and better than nothing), but you have one career. So why not stand out from the crowd of keyboard pounders?


4. Work hard your last 2 weeks. 

You don't want your final impression at the company to be 'Ah, [your name] checked out early'. Do everything you can to make the transition smooth. Don't be a lazy daydreamer counting down to ticks 'til freedom. Help your colleagues.

And how will following this advice pay dividends later? A recent Bloomberg survey found that nearly 20% of workers return to old employers. 

You may get dizzy from all that high-road taking, but your reputation won't regret it. 

[Note: If you quit to start your own company and take a whole bunch of their clients with you, ignore everything you just read and get the hell out now!].

John Lavallo57 Posts

John is Columbia Business School MBA with expertise in marketing, business leadership, and law. John is a successful entrepreneur who took his first company public. He currently resides in New York City.