How To Quit Your Job

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Table Of Contents

When it comes to career moves, sometimes the grass is actually greener on the other side. Whether you’re switching careers, starting your own business, or just need a change of scenery, you’ll probably need to quit your job before starting another one. Whenever you leave a job, it’s a good idea to try and stay on good terms with your former employer. Not only does it convey professionalism, but it could work to your advantage down the road. Burning bridges rarely works out in the corporate world.  Keep reading to learn how to quit your job gracefully.

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How To Quit Your Job

Quitting a job isn’t easy, especially if you’ve put in extensive time or built a rapport with your colleagues. Use the steps below to guide you as you navigate quitting your job in a professional manner.

Evaluate Your Options And Make A Plan

Like most things in life, quitting your job works out better when you start with a solid plan. What kind of plan do you need when you leave a job? Well, for starters, are you financially prepared to quit? Do you have another job lined up? If not, do you have funds saved up to cover your expenses in the meantime?

Having a plan for quitting your job means:

  • Being financially prepared
  • Exploring on job opportunities on popular job boards
  • If you’re starting a business, knowing how you’ll generate revenue
  • Having an employment end date in mind
  • Knowing who to tell that you are quitting
  • Understanding your reasons for quitting

Whatever your reasons for quitting, having a game plan will help as you navigate through the process of switching jobs.

As part of your plan, make time to update your resume. If you need help, check out our guide to the best resume writing services.

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Get Your Finances In Order

Switching jobs is more than just changing the work you do. Depending on your current situation, you could be changing salaries, health insurance providers, and retirement contributions. Life is more than just money, but financial stability is important, especially when making huge life changes, like changing careers.

Get your finances in order before you quit your job. If you haven’t already created an emergency fund, do it now. Most experts advise you to save three to six months of expenses, but do yourself a favor and save whatever amount helps you sleep at night. That could be more or less than this depending on your situation.

Do your due diligence to determine if your new employer offers adequate health insurance coverage, retirement account matching, and other essential benefits. If you plan to work for yourself, add finding health insurance to your lengthy to-do list. If possible, start freelancing now to build up your business and earn extra money you can set aside for when you quit.

Talk To Your Boss and Give Adequate Notice

How you quit is up to you. Typically, when you’re ready to quit, you should schedule a time to meet with your boss one-on-one. Schedule this time, don’t spring it on them casually as you pass by their office.

Standard practice is to give your employer two week’s notice when resigning from a job. In some instances, you may want to give more time, especially if you need time to wrap up any existing projects or don’t start another job for a while. On the flip side, if you’re in a toxic work situation, don’t let standard practice dictate when you leave.

Remember, your employer has a say in how long you will work for the company. They can choose to terminate you immediately if they choose. Be prepared to walk out the door any time you approach your superior to quit a job. That doesn’t mean you need to pack up your things, which would give away that you’re leaving. It’s a good idea to save any files you need to an external drive or cloud platform, like Google Drive, before you give notice.

Your employee contract may include policies about how much notice is required. Always check company policies and any agreements in place before approaching your boss. If needed, write a resignation letter and give it to your boss when you speak to them.

Reasons For Quitting - What To Tell Your Boss

When you give your notice, be prepared for your boss to ask why. Here are a few common reasons for quitting:

  • You are furthering your education. You are going back to school.
  • You are taking another job. You are taking another job that pays more, puts you on a new career trajectory, or is in a new field.
  • You want a different or more flexible schedule. You want to work a different work schedule and you aren’t able to do so at your current job.
  • You or someone in your family has a health issue. You or someone in your family has a healthy issue.
  • You want to spend more time with your family. You want to spend more time with your family.
  • You are relocating. You or your family are relocating.
  • You need a change. If you simply need a change, just say that you’re ready to move on to new opportunities.

Return Company Property

The last thing you need to do when quitting your job is to have a plan for your last day. Turn in any company property, such as office or vehicle keys, your computer, mobile phone, electronic equipment, and other supplies. Make a checklist and cross each item off as you return them.

Use this time to finish strong at your job and also say your goodbyes to your colleagues and superiors. Keeping those connections open could help you down the road so exchange contact info as needed.

Participate In An Exit Interview

Many employers conduct exit interviews. If your company does not offer an exit interview, you can request one. Exit interviews are a great opportunity to share your candid thoughts and reflections about the company and position you held.

Your candid feedback can help the company to make changes and improvements.

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Things To Avoid When Quitting Your Job

As much as there is a right or professional way to quit your job, there are also things you should avoid when leaving a job. Here are some things you shouldn’t say or do when quitting a job:

  • Badmouth your boss in job interviews with prospective employers
  • Refuse to train your replacement
  • Walk out the door with no notice
  • Talk about quitting with coworkers or your boss before you are ready to leave
  • Not setting a leaving date
  • Leave without connecting with your colleagues for future networking
  • Brag about your new job or company
  • Leave on a bad note if you need recommendations
  • Make plans without considering any non-competition rules in your employee contract
  • Not participate in an exit interview if requested
  • Quit on any day but Friday

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you quit a job immediately?

Yes you can quit a job immediately as long as you don’t have any binding agreement in place with your current employer. However, quitting a job on the spot may not be in your best interest or your career path.

Should I quit my job for my mental health? 

Your mental wellbeing is just as important as physical health. If you’re in a toxic work situation or environment, the only way to find peace or create change may be to quit your job.

How do I tell my boss I’m quitting? 

It’s almost always best to schedule a time to meet in-person with your boss or superior when you are quitting. You can also type up a resignation letter to give them during your meeting as an official notice.

When should you quit your job? 

In most instances, you should quit your job when you are mentally, physically, and financially ready to leave your current situation. It’s a good idea to give advance notice whenever possible to avoid potential negative consequences down the road.

The Bottom Line

Quitting a job isn’t a fun process regardless of your situation. It’s almost always best to choose the high road and leave in a professional manner, even when it’s tough to do. The decisions you make when quitting a job now could have a lasting effect on your career. If you are preparing to quit your job, it may be a good idea to start searching for a new job. Start your job search on ZipRecruiter today!