3 rules to quit your job the right way

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Sep 02

When you quit your job -- to take a new one -- there are great temptations and great opportunities. The temptation side of quit your job is all about "take this job and shove it." Considering the usual motivation for leaving is bad stuff happening at your current job -- managers, management, layoffs, risk of going out of business, the bullying coworker -- it is tempting, in fact, emotionally satisfying, to just tell the work world to shove it and get a life.

But, you know, I wouldn't quit your job that way. Really.

If you accept that you want a good corporate experience, you understand that this one, the one where you quit your job, is not the experience you want. So you leave. Not leave by cutting a swath of destruction as you go.

No, if you were really the Captain and Commander of your career -- and Cubicle Warriors resemble that description, right? -- then you leave your job with grace, professionalism and thankful for the (intense) learning opportunity the job had become for you.

You do it the right way.

Quit your job and gather personal contact information from everyone

Everyone you want to stay in touch with, who you would love to help find a job and who respects your work. Even if you don't necessarily like someone, it may be a great idea to stay in touch because the person knows what they are doing and they respect your work even if they don't necessarily like you either.

You see, all those nice people will still be working when you are looking for the next big opportunity in your career. And they will probably be working at the very company that looks like the next big opportunity for your career. To blow them off, because they work at the place you decided is crap, is not a very smart thing to do.

Besides, you could just as easily help them find the next big opportunity for their career and a mutual admiration society will undoubtedly develop.

Business networking -- having a wide range of people in multiple companies who you know and support -- is the holy grail of finding the next opportunity. Throwing out the business networking baby with the corporate bath water just makes no sense.

Quit your job and get an agreement with your manager about your work

What you will complete before you leave? What you will transition while you are still there? And what you won't do and what won't you transition?

You see, leaving without taking care of business is rude. The very worst thing you can do is dump the work on whoever is left, walk away and do the happy dance while you're doing it. Then one day you apply for a job, the manager -- who now manages the coworker you did the happy dance on when you left -- asks for an opinion on how great you are to work with, and you get dumped on big-time with the new manager because you happy dance.

Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served cold and you just got served frozen on your new job. I've been there. I've done that.

But the very, absolute best way to get a job is to have the internal employee you used to work with go the the hiring manager and tell that manager, "If you don't interview this person (you), you will make the biggest hiring mistake of your life." Golden.

Because you took the time to transition the work the right way.

Quit your job and send thank you notes to the people who meant the most you you

Yes, this sounds incredibly stupid. But acknowledge the people who made the biggest (good) impact on you and how you did the work at the company. Usually, they have no idea they did so much for you and will be appreciative -- and amazed -- that you took the time to thank them.

Don't do that 1000-person e-mail blast saying your leaving and here is your information and "hope you all stay in touch." Instead, send 50 or 25 or 10 e-mails to the people you genuinely admired and appreciated while you served your tour of duty with the company. Personal loyalty is paramount in today's job market and a note of appreciation can go a long way to cement the personal loyalty.

Quit your job for another company is a career opportunity

This isn't about leaving, letting go and taking this job and shoving it somewhere. No, this is about concluding this chapter in your work life, ensuring your relationships with the people you want to work with are maintained and building bridges to future work gigs that will help you and your tribe successfully navigate careers.

Or you can tell everyone to shove it and deal with the consequences. Your choice. Which will it be?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.