How to quit your job without flipping chairs

Deciding to leave a company is usually not an easy decision, but sometimes it is really easy. Many of us fantasize about a lengthy venting session to our boss followed by a mic drop. We yearn for the moment to finally let it all out and stick it to the man. After all, what’s the point in letting them down easy when you’re definitely done with the company?

Before you flip that chair on your way out the door, let me explain why I took a more professional approach. A few months ago I quit my job at a reputable travel startup in San Francisco. I had many reasons for quitting which I won’t get into, but suffice it to say that I wasn’t happy and was ready to move on.

I decided to give my manager notice that I would be leaving in a month’s time. Further, rather than decreasing my output productivity during that period, I increased it until my very last day. A month is a long time, you say? Why work harder on your way out, you’re wondering? Here’s why you should exit gracefully and how to leave your last job wanting more.

Former employers are useful references. Down the road you’re bound to need references from someone at the company and the manner in which you leave will be seen by more than just your direct boss. It’s important that as many people as possible remember you in a positive light.

People move around. Former co-workers can and will move to other companies eventually as well. Their new company might be one you’d want to work at in the future. Maybe their new job has them in a decision making role and they could be a potential customer. Do you want them to remember you as the guy who flipped out as he left?

Last-impressions matter. The way you leave a company could totally reduce and diminish all the hard work you put in while ruining your image. Is it worth throwing away 1–2 years of personal brand equity just for a momentarily satisfying “F’ you?”

Now that we know it’s better to leave on a positive note. Here are a few ways to make that happen.

Enable a seamless transition. Companies hate employee turnover because it means productivity and money lost due to hiring and training a new employee. Providing ample notice to your employer and facilitating as much knowledge transfer, either through documentation or training, as possible will be much appreciated.

Give feedback in an exit interview. If something was really bothering you and caused you to leave, an exit interview is the perfect opportunity to voice those concerns. Your feedback should be well-intended and constructive. It shouldn’t be a venting session.

Re-connect with your allies. During your last week, you should grab coffee with the people who you’d like to maintain in contact with after you leave. Tell them you’ve enjoyed working with them and would like to keep in touch. Then provide them with your personal contact info. This will re-solidify your relationships and allow you to maintain contact after you go.

Leaving a company in a positive light will pay dividends in the future. Here’s to your next gig!

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