Quit Your Job With Class

Reprinted with permission from Associations Now, v. 6, no. 10 September/October.

HR consulting firm Right Management says nearly 60 percent of workers will want to give notice to their current employers when the market improves.

If you plan on being one of them, you’d be wise to take the advice of Alison Doyle, job search expert for About.com.
“It’s really important to resign the right way,” she says. “You can very diplomatically leave a job and keep those important relationships with your former coworkers and employers intact at the same time.”

According to Doyle, you should:

  1. Clean up your computer first. “Your employer isn’t [required] to take you up on your two weeks’ notice,” says Doyle. Get anything personal off of your computer before resigning, and forward contact information for coworkers and clients with whom you want to stay in touch to your personal email.
  2. Give notice—at least two weeks, if you aren’t required to give more. Obviously, Doyle says, cut out sooner if the job is untenable due to harassment or some similar reason.
  3. Tell your boss first. “Don’t tell your coworkers first, don’t post it on Facebook, [and] don’t tweet it,” says Doyle. Also, try to put a positive spin on the situation: “Make sure your boss knows you’re not leaving because you hate your job; you’re leaving because you have a better opportunity,” she says.
  4. Offer to help with the transition. Ask if you can help train your replacement or offer to be on call for a period of time after you’ve left, if need be.
  5. Ask for a reference. Old-fashioned letters are OK, according to Doyle, but LinkedIn recommendations are even better.

And don’t forget to say goodbye, Doyle says: “Send an email to your colleagues and clients, letting them know you’re leaving, thanking them, and telling them they’ve been great to work with.” Not only is it the nice thing to do, it’s the right thing to do if you want to call on those people in the future.

Bryan Ochalla is a freelance writer based in Seattle. Email: me@bryanochalla.com