From the Archives: Tips For Leaving Your Job Gracefully

We’ve all heard it: millennials are entitled, millennials have no loyalty, millennials are only interested in themselves. With stereotypes as harsh as these, it makes it difficult to pursue better opportunities without supporting people’s negative connotations about our age group. But at the end of the day, it’s your career and you ultimately have to do what’s best for you.
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So how do you pursue a new opportunity without burning bridges? Here are a few tips to moving on without moving out of high esteem with your former employers.
Think Ahead
Before making the leap to a new job, take stock of your current role and what it is that’s making you consider moving on. Are you feeling unchallenged in your role but love your coworkers? It might be worth a conversation with your manager, you never know what opportunity lies with your current company until you ask for more. If you dislike the work environment, try to figure out why. If you get to the bottom of your discontent, it’s easier to narrow your job search and ask more pointed questions during your interview.
Network Network Network
This concept has been drilled into our heads since college but it certainly doesn’t hurt. We have moved into a very social age where people are more willing to connect online without raising red flags. Check your prospective company’s LinkedIn profile for potential connections such as an alumni from your college or common employer. Reaching out to a new connection to learn more about a company prior to interviewing could provide more personalized insight into the company. It may not end with a referral but informal discussions about a company can be more telling (and relaxed) than formal interviews.
Build, Don’t Burn, Bridges
When you find that golden opportunity at a new company, be thoughtful when breaking it to your manager. Cover your bases first and make sure you have an offer in hand before leaving your role but also consider your current obligations. Crucial project launching in two weeks? Try to push your start date to three weeks so you can wrap up your current responsibilities without leaving your team in the lurch. When explaining to your superior that you will be pursuing a new opportunity, be diplomatic and don’t name names. Always consider what you have learned, leaving things on a positive note by complimenting the opportunity you have had to tailor your skills. Every job is a chance to learn more about yourself and the direction you want to take your career so consider that when explaining your reason for leaving. Don’t drag your co workers or company through the mud. There will likely be an HR exit interview for constructive feedback which will remain confidential and won’t affect your relationships.
Be Kind: Rewind
If you are looking for a new job, you will probably have an idea that you are leaving well before the customary 2 weeks notice. Even if your new job interview doesn’t pan out, it doesn’t hurt to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Create a list of tasks for which you are responsible and write up instructions on how to complete them. This will make it easier to transition and make sure knowledge transfers are as seamless as possible. Preparing your tasks could be as simple as organizing your files onto a shared drive or site for co workers to access. Depending on how much time you have left, consider your accrued PTO. If you have days that will expire, might as well use them! Most companies are required to reimburse you for earned time off but not complimentary flex days so if you have a day off coming up, use the free ones first.
Keep In Touch
Not everything is a perfect fit. In fact, most companies will not be a perfect fit. People move in and out of companies a fair amount so don’t think it’s held against you that you didn’t find what you were looking for at your current job. Good managers will understand you’re looking for a different opportunity so keep in touch with your coworkers. After working with you for a period of time, they can speak to your skills and work personality for future positions or promotions. Your manager would especially be a good resource or potential mentor after working with you and understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Grabbing coffee in the future is a great opportunity for them to share insights and advice when they’re no longer your superior or restrained by company etiquette.
Making the Most of It
Starting a new job is intimidating. You have a clean slate which is the perfect opportunity to prove yourself and start afresh but it also means re-establishing your work ethics and reliability with a new group of coworkers. Take some time to reflect on what you want to improve on based on your past performance. You can take feedback from your past jobs and performance evaluations to make a change in your new role with a new reputation. Always remember that you got this job for a reason and a number of people believe in your abilities already. Don’t be intimidated just because you’re new and remember that you pursued this new role for a reason. Go forth and conquer!

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