Tips For Leaving A Job: How To Leave A Good Impression

A guide to quitting jobs in the best way possible.

Many a person's dream is to storm into the boss's office and tell him/her exactly what they think of them and march out in a shower of triumphant sparks. Not a good idea, unless, of course, you've just won the lottery. Since most of us haven't won the lottery, a more diplomatic and dignified exit would be a wiser course of action.

For one thing, you may need a reference to get a new job. The ideal would be to already have that new job before leaving the old one, but what complicates this situation is trying to obtain a reference without letting on that you're actually looking elsewhere. A Catch-22, if ever I heard of one, especially if you've been in your current position for a number of years. New employers mostly want to know what you've been doing with yourself recently.

If you can get over that hurdle, congratulations, but if not, shouting your way out the door isn't going to be helpful. Leaving on amicable terms is your best bet for future employment.

It's a good idea to target someone specifically for a reference. You'll need someone in the firm with the authority to provide a reference, of course. Be especially sad at having to leave in this person's earshot, and give their name to all prospective employers.

Co-workers, too, should be cultivated to a certain extent, even if it goes against the grain. Gossiping to anyone who has no plans to quit the company is a bad idea. Even though, in the past, all ears, they whole-heartedly agreed with your expressed view that the boss got his business degree by answering a matchbook-cover ad. He or she will inevitably close ranks after (or before!) you give notice in an effort to disassociate with separation vibes.

On the practical side, make sure you know where you stand on health insurance, vacation pay, and the like, well before your departure date. There are sometimes misunderstandings, and you may need to clarify points. It's best done while you are still punching in on the premises every day. Phone calls and e-mails from a no-longer-valued-employee are often relegated to a back burner. The unpleasantness you may have to assert over this is not in your best interest at this time.

Your letter of resignation should point out the positive aspects of your job and how you'll miss them. Leave out any references to stolen credit and sabotage. They won't be accepted and will only make you appear bitter. If you are bitter, even if it's your reason for leaving, saying so at this late stage will only jeopardize your future plans. The point is that working under such circumstances, you could hardly have been happy, and the sooner you leave, the better. To spill your guts now, as an act of catharsis, will benefit you not one wit. Save it for your significant other, who's probably used to it.

On your last day, lingering to shake hands with everyone, a subtle, unobtrusive finger beneath the eye, a discreet catch in the throat (even though you can't wait to hotfoot it out the door), could pay off. After all, you may need to come crawling back"¦ eh, that is, want to return some day.

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