I’ve quit two jobs. Let me tell you, it’s not a fun process - no matter how much you know it’s the right choice. There is a way to do it with grace and dignity, without tarnishing relationships. But there is also a way to do it very poorly, leaving both parties with a bad taste in their mouths. Not ideal. I’ve unfortunately watched countless people quit who seem to have lost their common sense along the way. Because it truly frightens me the way some people leave their companies, I feel obligated to give it to you straight and make sure there isn’t any confusion.
Here's what NOT to do when quitting your job.
Don’t Dress Like a Slob
Dress like you’re coming in for an interview. Seriously. In the same way you came in for the interview, you should exit wearing your Sunday best. It shows that you have respect for your manager, the company and yourself. Even if you had the crappiest experience and you’re so pumped to be getting out of there - be the bigger person. You DO NOT want to burn bridges. I once saw someone come into work in sweatpants, absolutely disheveled - quite frankly looking hungover - to quit their job. It was basically an "F You" to their managers. You can pretty much guarantee that if you do something similar, your reputation will be flushed down the drain, with little chance of keeping working relationships with any of those people. Dress your best.
Don’t Come in Late
When I quit my investment banking job, I was in the office two hours before everyone else got in. I was an absolute nervous wreck, but I had time to situate myself, review my notes and muster up the courage to speak to the head of the department and give my resignation. Get in before your manager. Come prepared with a nice speech as to why you’re leaving, thanking them for letting you be a part of their team and offering to help make the transition as easy as possible. Don’t show up to work later than you’re expected to be there just because you won’t be there moving forward. Again, it all goes back to having respect for yourself and others. Get in early.
Don’t Cause a Fuss
So let’s say you’re ticked at your company. You feel that they treated you badly, that you didn’t have the support of managers and that your pay didn’t match up with the work you were asked to do. You’re mad. And you want to let them know it. Stick it to them! Now’s your chance, right?! Not so fast. I’ve seen people make such a fuss as they were about to leave, berating management, gossiping amongst coworkers, even making demands when they knew full well they were about to quit. If you want to share your discontent, that’s totally fine. But there is a way you can do it that will be more impactive and constructive for you and the HR team. Keep your cool.
Don’t Quit too Early
This was something my manager at the NYSE preached to me. When I gave him a heads up that I would be moving on in the near future he said, “Just make sure you do your job while you’re still here.” Essentially he was saying, don’t quit too early. Do your job up until the last day you are there. Make sure that you are making the transition easy for the co-workers you leave behind. Prove to yourself and others that apathy would never be a word to describe you. Focus on the present and then you can worry about the future, when the future comes. Seems obvious, but do your job.
Quitting is never fun. But again, it is possible to leave your company and still maintain positive relations with past employers. Just be a good human, show respect and act civil. I still talk to past coworkers and managers, asking for advice and heeding their guidance. You never know when those connections will help (or hurt!) you in the future!