Saying good-bye is never easy, especially when it comes to your job. With the job market recovering, many employees could be looking to find work elsewhere. When they do find a new job, numerous departing employees are leaving on a sour note. Here are 10 smart ways employees can quit their jobs while ensuring they don't burn bridges along the way.
Do it on Friday
The best day for employees to let their company know they are leaving is at the end of the week, said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs.
"The best time to give your notice, especially if you're in a less-than-desirable situation at work, is Fridays," Fell said. "If you can schedule a late-afternoon meeting to give your notice, that's even better, because it helps everyone involved to avoid the post-meeting awkwardness, and gives you a couple days to regroup before entering your last two weeks at work."
The last thing employees want to do is quit their job, only to realize they aren't legally allowed to work for the employer to which they think they are headed, said business consultant and human resources expert Teri Aulph.
"Review all the documents you signed when you took the job you are leaving," Aulph said. "Make sure you did not agree to noncompete or nonsolicitation clauses. You wouldn't want anything to jeopardize your future."
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Be less than candid
While an exit interview may seem like a place to air all gripes, that isn't always the best approach, said Charley Polachi, partner at Polachi Access Executive Search. When determining how candid to be, employees should ask themselves what they'd really gain from trashing their boss, Polachi said.
"Try looking at the long term and how it will impact your future employment opportunities," he said. "Remember: Your boss will be one of the people contacted when you're looking for future employment positions."
Spread the word
One way to leave a company on good terms is to find out from the company how they would prefer co-workers to find out about the news, said Ian Ide, president of the search divisions for staffing at WinterWyman.
"During your conversation with your manager, ask him or her how and when they would like your resignation communicated with colleagues," Ide said. "Before revealing your new plans, make sure you discuss with your manager how to best roll out the message to others."
As a manager who cares about the company, George Balta, a public relations manager for nonprofit organization Baby Lifetime, said he likes to know if there was something he could have done differently to make the employee stay.
"I usually want to see a person quitting to move to a higher level or salary at another company, and not just quit to change environments," Balta said. "If it is just changing environments, that means we failed to keep him or her at our company."
Give plenty of notice
While two weeks' notice is standard and expected in most professions, the more time a departing employee can give, the better, said Jeff Gordon, founder of Internet marketing firm Interactive99. Gordon said he once worked with an employee who provided his employer four weeks' notice, which gave the company plenty of time to prepare for a smooth transition.
"This reflected well upon his character and certainly reduced anxiety among the ranks," Gordon said. "The four weeks gave the company enough time to absorb his knowledge and bring on a consultant."
Don't slack off
Business and life coach DeNeen Attard said after giving notice of an impending departure, it is important for employees to keeping working hard and not coast for the remaining days. "Continue to do your job until you exit the company," Attard said. "Step up your game, and perform like never before. Leave no doubt in their mind that you are an exceptional employee."
Tell direct boss first
Anthony C. Klotz, an assistant professor at Oregon State University's College of Business, said that employees who have developed a close relationship with their supervisor should let him or her know first, before giving the company official notice.
"If an employee is close friends with his or her boss, the boss may feel slighted and blindsided by the sudden act of resigning," Klotz said. "In that case, it may make more sense for an employee to inform the boss of their intention to resign well before formal notice of the resignation is provided to the organization."
Business and career coach Sandra Lamb advises her clients to always start out a resignation meeting by paying the current employer a compliment. "Always start with the positive that compliments your present employer," Lamb said. "There's always something positive that can be said, like 'X company provided a very valuable learning environment.'"
Daniel Rothner, founder and director of nonprofit organization Areyvut, said it is always smart for outgoing employees to leave their successor some notes on exactly what their job entailed and how they handled those responsibilities. "Document what you did in the company so that they can pass that along to the person taking your place," Rothner said. "Doing so will show professionalism and that you value the company."