The Richmond Register

July 28, 2013

The art of gracefully exiting a current job

By Jennifer Napier
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — Current employment trends indicate that the average employee will stay with an employer approximately three years.

Since this is becoming a normal workplace transition, it's important that you to know how to exit a position gracefully, professionally and in good standing with the employer.

Your lifestyle and priorities may change over time. It's not uncommon that your values, family dynamics, educational levels or acquired experience will impact your reasons for wanting a change in your career. You may have goals you want to achieve. There may have been a change in your family's status. You may need to relocate.

What if you just don't like the job you are doing any longer because it's not challenging enough?

What if your current job has become too stressful to comfortably work in?

What if you want to seek out new opportunities with fresh management and new co-workers?

If you are currently working, but applied elsewhere and have now been offered the job, what should you do?

Let's start with the three things you should never do when changing jobs: quit and don't bother to show up anymore, badmouth your employer and/or co-workers, or stay on the job and not care about the quality of your work because you're just counting down the days.

If you want to leave your current job with grace, professionalism and in good standing, there are several steps you should take to ensure you leave on a positive note.

The first step is too notify your employer that you intend to leave with as much advance notice as possible. Notify your immediate supervisor in private, don't announce you're leaving while standing in a high traffic area or in public.

If you are in a salaried position or a position requiring a college degree, you should give at least 2-4 weeks advance notice, if not more. If you are in an hourly or non-salaried position, you should provide at least 1-2 weeks notice.

It is never easy to post a job, recruit new talent and get the person hired and trained quickly. That process takes time, and the more time you can give an employer to replace you, the more they will respect you.

Never slack off on the type of work you perform, from the time you give your notice until your last day. You should work as hard, and as much, as if you had just landed the job. Your customers' or co-workers shouldn't have to suffer from your decision to leave the company.

Lastly, never badmouth your employer or co-workers. Even if there were unethical or inappropriate behaviors occurring on the job, it's unprofessional to be negative about a former employer and will just make you look like a complainer.

Knowing how to leave a job in a professional way can make the difference between good future references and poorly burned bridges.