- Tell your boss first – Don’t tell your friends in the company first. No matter how much you trust them, people will talk. You do not want your boss to hear it from someone else.
- Put it in writing – This should be the shortest letter you have written. Try not to say much more than you are leaving, when your last day will be and that you are grateful for the experience. This is not the time to write a manifesto on why you hate your boss or the company. After you quit, any criticisms you may have of your boss just sound like sour grapes. Your complaints would have been much more meaningful when you were an employee. If you kept your mouth shut for years and never complained about anything, then keep your mouth shut for two more weeks. It is not worth venting. You are not going to bring about change at this point, and anything you put in writing may come back to haunt you later. Just let it go.
- Give at least two weeks notice – This is a standard practice and if you fail to provide the appropriate notice, then many companies will mark you as ineligible for rehire. I cannot easily count the number of employees that have left with no notice only to call back at a later point to see if they can get their job back. There are very few absolutes in my life, but I never hired someone back that failed to give the appropriate notice.
- Help to transition your work – Give your boss a detailed plan of the things that you do so that they may draft a suitable plan for replacing you. Also help to train anyone that your boss identifies in your duties.
- Actually work your last two weeks – I have asked many an employee to leave before their two weeks were up. If you are only going to serve to be a distraction during your last two weeks, then I would rather you just leave.
Most people are only going to find a new job when they are looking for one. They are looking for one because they are unhappy in their current position for any one of a million reasons. When they find a new job, they are thrilled. They feel liberated as if they have been paroled from prison. That feeling of elation causes them to make stupid decisions. They violate one or more of the five rules I posted above because they are sure that their future is bright and they will never need their old employer again. This is a fool’s logic if you ask me. How can you possibly be sure that your new job is better than your old job until you actually start working it? You can’t.
When the time comes to leave your job, do it professionally. Follow these rules and maintain all of you contacts at your previous employer. One thing I know for sure is that it is a small world and your reputation is worth protecting. Treat others as you would expect to be treated, and that includes when you quit.
What did I miss on this list? What rules should you never break when quitting a job?