Menu Menu

Question – What’s the best way to quit a job smoothly?

Looking to leave your current employer but don’t want to kick up a fuss? Our career coach gives you some solid advice on what you should and shouldn’t do.

Question: How should you handle the process of handing in your leaving notice to make the situation as comfortable as possible?

Great question. Leaving a workplace can feel really weird! It’s usually a strange mixture of positive and negative emotions.

Here’s a list of dos and don’ts…

What should I do?

Give notice as soon as you know you are leaving, it gives everyone time to prepare and you don’t have to feel like you are keeping a secret.

Ask for a meeting with your line manager and tell them first, face to face. It’s natural that you will want to share good news with close colleagues first, but you must ensure your manager hears it from you, and you need to be front up and do it person.

If you feel nervous or uncomfortable about this conversation, here’s a tip (it works for any uncomfortable conversation). Just call out the emotion to neutralise it’s power: ‘I’m a bit nervous and feel uncomfortable telling you this, but…’

Follow up with written confirmation afterwards. Keep your written confirmation brief, polite and to the point, this is not the place for a 40-slide deck on everything that is wrong with the organisation.

You might have an exit interview. If you have some negatives to share, this is the place to do it, but keep it professional and factual.

Stay positive and leave on good terms, you never know when you will cross paths with people again, especially in small industries. And you’ll want a good reference!

What should I not do?

Feel guilty, or feel like you owe them anything, work overtime or give up accrued holiday to compensate for leaving. Keep work in perspective, people move jobs all the time.

Feel like you can’t negotiate your notice. If you need to leave earlier than your official notice period, sometimes this is possible.

Leave any booby traps behind. Clean up any messes you’ve created before you leave!

Use it as an excuse to behave badly or gloat, even if you feel like a few people deserve it. See above – who knows when you could cross paths again, or who else in your industry they are in touch with. Leave with a good reputation among the staff.

If the reason for moving is a new job, don’t hand in your notice before the paperwork is complete. Sometimes things can go wrong at the last minute, and you could find yourself unintentionally unemployed!

Working your notice can be quite fun! Without the feeling that you’re going to be there for the rest of your life, you stop paying attention to all the bad bits and enjoy all the good things about your job.

Don’t let this sway you from making a move, remember why you planned on leaving in the first place, if that was a genuine and well-thought through decision, stick to it.


Thred Newsletter!

Sign up to our planet-positive newsletter