How To Leave a Job without Burning a Bridge?

How To Leave a Job without Burning a Bridge?

How To Leave a Job without Burning a Bridge?

There will come a time in your career when you choose to leave your current job or company. A dream job pops up, promotion or other offer surfaces, or you find a better fit, it happens. Changing jobs is often listed as one of life's most stressful events. However, with a little planning, you can exit your current position with grace and end on a good note.

Get the Facts

Before you go anywhere, make sure you know the rules.  Your current employer may place a time restriction on how soon you can work for a competitor. Also, understand your current company's policy on notice and what those expectations are during this time.  It would be best if you got the same from your new employer, too. This is not the right time to guess at or assume details.

Further, make sure you appreciate what you can and can’t take with you.  Many employers might expect to retain information about your business contacts, professional memberships, or any proprietary information. Don't expect to take any of this with you, especially if you are heading over to a competitor.

Please Put That in Writing

When you are finally ready to leave, put your resignation in letter form, and give it to your supervisor.  Ideally, it would help if you planned to do this in person.  An email will work, but it is best to face this head-on.  Yes, there will be an awkward conversation, but nothing you can't handle. Keep it professional, stick to the facts, and keep the details to a minimum at this point.

Stay Professional

Even after you give your notice, you are still an employee. You will be expected to adhere to company rules, policies, and procedures.  And, as an employee, you owe it to your current employer to continue to give 100% effort while wrapping up. Keep your focus on your job. Keep the details of your new job to yourself while you’re finishing up. There will be a time when you can delve into the details of the new position with friends and co-workers, but your professionalism will be expected and appreciated here.

You will likely have an exit interview. If you do have any bad feelings toward your employer, you are best served to put these thoughts into some descriptive notes to share at this time. Resist any desire to 'burn a bridge' here.  While it might feel good, the long-term impact is not worth it.  Say your peace, say thank you, and end on a good note.

What if I Can't Give notice?

There may be a rare occasion where you are not able to give minimum notice.  This is rare, but it does happen.  You should plan to do this in person if you can. Put your resignation in writing and give it to your supervisor as soon as you are able.  If you can, you should seek the assistance of your human resources personnel as they may be able to offer further guidance.

It's never easy to leave a job, but with some planning, you can do it with grace and (hopefully) no hard feelings. People leave jobs all the time, and it's nothing new.  Do your homework and get prepared, and you'll do just fine.


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