Perhaps your boss is unreasonable, or the co-workers in your office make your life nearly unbearable. Or maybe you’re swamped with work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no help and no end in sight. You have decided that you’re going to leave your job. You’d like your last day to be as soon as possible, but you have no idea how to tell your boss that you’re hitting the road.
There are two ways you can leave a job in a hurry: the right way or the wrong way. If you leave a job the right way, you may be able to count on your former boss to provide you with a glowing reference in future job searches. If you leave a job the wrong way, it could cost you.
The most vital thing about leaving a job as quickly as possible, but with a minimum of fuss is keeping everything professional and transparent. In other words, don’t burn bridges, and make sure your boss is aware you’re leaving and when. Here are several tips for leaving a job quickly while minimizing the damage to your reputation:
1. Do not consider leaving a job the optimal time to tell people you don’t like them. No matter how much you hate your boss or your co-workers, do not give in to the temptation to tell them so, even if you think they deserve it. You never know if you might run into them again or even have to work with them, so maintain a calm, professional demeanor when you leave.
2. Offer to help train your replacement. If you know your leaving will disrupt the office, helping to train your replacement will smooth the transition within your position, plus it will earn you goodwill from your co-workers and boss. Also, when you do train your replacement, do not badmouth the company, your boss, or co-workers. It’s scary enough starting a new job and preparing your replacement for the worst won’t do anyone any good.
3. Resist the temptation to steal. It may sound obvious, but a surprising number of employees steal items when exiting a job. Most commonly stolen items include things like software, hardware, and especially office supplies. Regardless of your feelings toward your old company, maintain your integrity on the way out.
4. Ask for a reference. Unless you’re leaving because of something horrible that you did, secure a good or at least neutral reference from your boss. After all, if you expect to continue working in this field, this job will appear on your resume, and you want someone who can vouch for your abilities.
5. When you go to an interview for a new job, do not badmouth your former company or your boss. Not only will you appear petty and unprofessional, but the interviewer may also wonder if your tendency to gossip might affect your performance at a new company.
Keep in mind that, when possible, you should give your boss two weeks’ notice prior to leaving. This is considered the standard when exiting a job. However, if you absolutely cannot stay in the office for another two weeks without going off the deep end, notify your boss in writing a short, concise letter that will do that you are quitting. Be sure to include the date of your last day at work.
No matter what your circumstances are before you make the decision to quit, try to work with your boss and your company to iron out your differences. If, after you have exhausted your resources for making your job better, you find that you really do not want to stay where you are, don’t sweat it. Sometimes employer-employee relationships simply don’t work out. Still, make sure that you exit gracefully and professionally. It will help you in the long run.