Best Way to Leave Your Job without Burning Bridges

Whatever your reason for leaving your current position, leaving with dignity is critical to leaving a good impression when you walk out the door of the office for the last time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016 that the median number of years that people stay in one position is 4.2 years, so you’re not alone in wanting to leave your job. The question is how to do it well. How you leave can determine whether you will be able to get a recommendation from a colleague or supervisor for a future position if you need it. Leave with grace so that your professional future is not in jeopardy. These tips can make your transition smooth and easy on you and your colleagues.

1.) Two Weeks is King.

The old rule of giving your employers at least two weeks’ notice before you leave is important, no matter how cliché it might sound. Your supervisor will appreciate that you are thinking of the greater needs of the organization by letting them know at least two weeks ahead of time that you’re leaving. This gives your employer time to find someone to replace you and to train a new hire and to prepare the staff for your leaving by potentially delegating your responsibilities among them, if necessary. Don’t tell your employer too far ahead of your leaving, though, because you will be excluded from team meetings, company social gatherings, etc. Give your employer more than two weeks’ notice if you can, but probably not more than three months’ notice, according to Rebecca Knight of the Harvard Business Review.

2.) Keep Things Quiet on Social Media.

Avoid blasting your employer on social media or giving public thanks online that you are finally able to leave your current job. Doing so could even affect how any future clients or employers view you and might even lead to a rescinding of a job offer. You can tell friends and family that you’re excited about your new job, but share your excitement without being negative about your former employer, according to Dominique Rodgers of Monster. Even outside of social media, avoid talking negatively or too much about your leaving to avoid the building of negative feelings from colleagues when word gets back to them.

3.) Don’t Mix Work and Making Future Plans.

Avoid using company resources to look for or prepare for your next position, says Deborah L. Jacobs of Forbes, such as printing your resume on the company’s printer or making copies of it on the office copier. Answer phone calls for interviews on your personal cell. Write your resume on your lunch hour with your personal, not company, laptop. Get a personal email account to apply for jobs. Avoid using your business account.

Whatever the circumstances of your leaving, whether it’s because you’re unhappy or you are leaving for new opportunities, be as professional and graceful about leaving as possible. Prepare the person taking your position through training and organizing your files. Do whatever you can to make the transition as easy for everyone as possible.