Video: How to Quit Your Job (With Grace)
Evan Thompson, Writer, BestColleges: One of the hardest things to do at work is telling a boss that you're quitting. You might be nervous, sad, excited, or just a jumbled mess of feelings.
If you've done it before, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, but are about to, you probably know what I'm talking about.
But it's so important to quit with grace despite these emotions. It's the best way to keep your standing intact and secure a reference for whatever comes next. The last thing you want to do is put in your two-week notice and skip the conversation altogether. Doing that really runs the risk of damaging all the goodwill that you've built.
So we created a script that explains the best way to quit a job without burning bridges. Stick around and we'll go through together line by line.
How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges
1. Set Up the Meeting
First, let's set up the meeting. You can start things off by sending a quick email or a DM, but because it's most polite to do this face-to-face, make sure you mention that you want to meet in-person or on a video call. You can say something like,
Hey there, I want to get some time on your calendar for an important talk about my role. Could I chat with you at your desk for a few minutes whenever it's convenient?
2. How to Break the News
So when it comes time to break the news, get right to the point. Be upfront, but polite about your decision — you want to give thanks for the opportunity and how it's helped you, but don't feel the need to over-explain. You can say something like,
I can't thank you enough for helping me grow my skills here, but I've decided it's time for me to move on. I've received another job offer that I plan to accept at the end of my two-week notice.
3. Good Etiquette
After your boss has some time to absorb the news, they're going to want to start looking for your replacement. It's good etiquette to offer to help with the transition, even if it's not needed or required. You can say something like,
I know my exit is going to be an adjustment for the team, but I'm willing to help train my colleagues and share insights to help make sure the business doesn't miss a beat after my last day.
4. If They Express Anger or Disappointment
Every boss reacts differently in these situations. Most will respect your decision, but some may see it as an act of betrayal. If they express anger or disappointment it's best to just stay neutral. Be empathetic and remind them that this decision is ultimately in your best interest. You could say,
I understand what you're saying and I do respect your feelings about this, but I do feel this is the best decision for me right now.
5. If They Try to Talk You Out of Leaving
There's a chance that your boss will try to talk you out of leaving, even going as far as offering a promotion or promising a raise. While it is a nice gesture, it does put you in a position to have to turn them down. How do you do it respectfully? Just remind them that you've already made your choice.
So what have we learned? There's no question it can be tough to tell a boss that you're quitting, but it's so important to do it the right way. Being upfront, polite, and considerate of your boss's possible reactions is the key to not burning bridges.
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