How to quit your job without burning bridges
Quitting your job is a big decision that can be fraught with danger. It involves difficult conversations, navigating expectations and where possible finding a win-win way to move forward. In the best case scenario you will be able to leave your job with a boss that is willing to recommend you highly for your next role. That is what we hope the tips in this article will give you the chance to achieve. What nobody wants is burned bridges and the disassembling of all of the effort you’ve put into building solid work relationships to date. While this ideal outcome is not always possible, here are some simple tips of how you might be able to quit your job without burning bridges.
Plan your exit conversation
Preparation is key to planning your exit conversation. Spend time brainstorming how and what might be the most effective approach your exit conversation. We recommend that you write down the key aspects of what you’re trying to articulate and how you’re going to frame your decision to leave.
Frame your career shift as an opportunity where possible
When you start the conversation with your boss you could say that you hate the role and need to move on, or you could frame it that an exciting opportunity has arisen and that it is something that you’re really excited to explore. The impact of this choice could be a make or break for whether you have your boss on side through this transition. Whether this matters is really up to you, but remember if you want to be able to ask your boss to be a referee or reference this could be critical.
Sadly, not all resignation conversations can be framed positively and yours might be difficult and negative. While we can’t make any specific suggestions for your context, we can recommend that even in challenging situations that you try and be civil and where possible end the relationship amicably. Bad blood or feeling of resentment from an old job can stay with you for a long time. So, if you do come away feeling really hurt, it might be worth talking to someone about that or opening up to someone you trust about how to move forward after a challenging end to your job.
Say thanks and show your gratitude
This can be a simple thing to forget. Even if the situation at work has become challenging, try to remember what positive memories and skills you have built in the organisation and share this with your boss and team.
Document your processes to support the handover
As your employer begins looking for someone new, clarity over the processes and tasks that you’ve helped to build and shape will provide vital information in helping your replacement in the job. Even a little bit of effort in supporting your team to do this can go a long way.
Know your rights and what your companies standards are
Companies have clear office and HR regulations around how to navigate resignations. We recommend that before you have the conversation with your boss that you spend some time looking up the standard practices of your company. This will mean that you are informed and ready for what steps are likely to be taken after your meeting and what expectations will be on you going forward.
These things aren’t always possible, but they can make a big difference
For some transitions a lot of the things on this list are impossible to do and perhaps you don’t even want to stay in the good graces of your current boss and team but don’t burn any bridges you may later regret. In saying this, take a minute to think about whether putting a little bit of extra effort into your resignation process may have some big benefits.