How to leave your job the right way
Leaving your job is a big step for anyone.
There’s a lot of talk about how to get your next job, interview tips and negotiating tactics, but not much talk about how to leave your job.
You might be taking the leap and going self-employed or you might have had enough of working weekends and anti-social hours. Perhaps you’ve reached your limit with your boss.
The most important thing to remember is that you only have so many hours in a day so it’s important that you’re selling them to the highest bidder.
This might be financial; the job that pays the highest salary or hourly rate.
But it might be something you can’t put a price on. Perhaps they let you take your dog to the office. Maybe they have childcare on site.
Whatever your motivation, leaving your job is a liberating, exciting, and scary experience. Read on to find out how you can make leaving your job work for you.
- What is a good reason for leaving a job?
- How do I tell my boss I’m leaving?
- How do you politely quit a job?
- Should I tell my boss I’m thinking of leaving?
- Can I resign with immediate effect?
- Is six weeks’ notice too much?
What is a good reason for leaving a job?
There are plenty of reasons to leave a job and every single one of them is valid.
Here are some of the most common reasons for people leaving their job:
- Starting a new job
- Going self-employed
- To focus on being a parent
- To take a break
Remember that you don’t need to explain your reason to anyone, what’s right for you is all that is important.
Simply put, any reason you no longer wish to exchange your time and labour for payment with the same employer is a good enough reason to leave your job.
But, it’s a big decision to make. So while any reason is valid and you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone, the implications can be worth thinking about.
Do you have a plan for paying your bills?
Do you have another job lined up?
Could your reason for wanting to leave be solved with a frank conversation with your manager?
Where possible, avoid making permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.
If you’ve had a bad week at work, there’s no harm in looking to see what jobs are available, but don’t be too hasty.
How do I tell my boss I’m leaving?
The hardest part about leaving your job is probably going to be telling your manager. It also might be your favourite part about the whole process depending on your relationship with your manager and your reason for leaving.
The most important thing is to check your employee handbook and your contract of employment.
How do you politely quit a job?
Quitting a job nicely is something worth considering if it’s an option. Burning your bridges on the way out might come back to bite you on the arse should your next venture not work out.
If you can, you should try and leave your job politely and on good terms with your manager. You never know when you’ll need a reference or a helping hand.
So how do you say “I quit” in a nice way?
Start with gratitude. Perhaps you’ve been at your job for a year, maybe it’s been 10 years. Telling your manager how grateful you are for the opportunities afforded to you, their support along your journey and for the doors the role has opened can be a really positive way to frame your resignation in a positive light.
Truthfully, your manager doesn’t expect you to be at the business forever. People grow and careers change, it’s healthy.
Giving your manager the appropriate notice, often one calendar month, and breaking the news to them in person with a carefully crafted letter is the best way to politely quit a job.
Should I tell my boss I’m thinking of leaving?
This is a really common question when it comes to leaving a job. Should you let your manager know beforehand that you are thinking of leaving?
The answer to this is very subjective but I would argue that no, you shouldn’t. You should only tell your boss when you have made your mind up and that you are leaving.
Long before this, you should be exploring conversations about development, opportunities, additional responsibilities or pay requests.
But if your boss has any reason to believe that they need to start planning for a workplace without you, you might find these opportunities disappear.
So be honest about your development requirements, and your personal needs and work towards the work-life balance you want. But avoid telling your boss that leaving your job is on your mind until you know what you are going to do.
Can I resign with immediate effect?
Probably not. As satisfying as it might be, there’s a very real risk that quitting your job with immediate effect would put you in breach of contract.
If you’re set on this for whatever reason, consult with an employment lawyer to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Quitting your job without notice might seem tempting, but the potential repercussions are worth paying some mind.
Don’t forget that it’s not just the immediate impact of breaching your contract. If word gets around in a small industry it can be hard to land future jobs and you might need the references.
At best, you can expect to lose your last pay cheque and any unpaid bonuses. At worst, you might find yourself being pursued for losses incurred as a result of your swift exit.
But if you won the lottery and plan on living out your days on a beach with bottomless cocktails, sure. You can do anything, right?
Is six weeks’ notice too much?
The only notice that is too much is one that is more than you are contractually obliged to provide.
Most employment contracts call for four weeks or one calendar month. However, depending on your seniority within the business or the type of work you do, it’s not uncommon to see notice periods of three and six months.
Providing more notice than your contract isn’t necessary, but it’s not a bad thing. If you know that your start date is going to be two months away, or you know you’re planning to stop working on a date that is months ahead, there’s no harm in letting your employer know early.
Take the leap, leave your job
It’s easy to get paralysed with fear when it comes to a decision as big as leaving your job.
Understanding what you are hoping to achieve by changing is a great way of making the decision easier. Not all job changes come with the luxury of time to decide and mull it over and this can make the consideration a bit harder.
It’s unusual for someone to regret leaving their job so take the leap. Bring in some change and see where your next opportunity takes you.