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How to Leave your Job on Good Terms

While some of us can get lost in the excitement of leaving our jobs for something better, the reality can often be more difficult than expected. If you’ve been laid off, terminated, or have faced problems with colleagues and managers, it can be tempting to burn your bridges all in one go. However, it’s important to stress how vital it is to your future career to leave your job on a positive note.

One key thing to remember is that you are ultimately looking to maintain your connections. The last thing you want is a tarnished reputation as an employee. Upholding your professionalism can help you pursue other jobs within your chosen industry, especially if you need a reference from your former employer. Your chances of receiving a glowing reference can reduce significantly if you’re parting company in a hostile manner.

Try to be gracious, regardless of circumstances

It’s perfectly natural to feel angry or upset if you’ve lost your job, regardless of the circumstances. But that doesn’t mean to say that seeking confrontation is the right thing to pursue. Do your best to diffuse any tension, and instead focus on your progress with your job search. Positive emotions always outweigh the negative. 

If you’re leaving your current role for the next step up in your career, whether it be in the form of a pay rise or a promotion, there’s a couple of things to bear in mind. Your current job will have inevitably provided you with a step forward to where you want to be; while it might be hugely tempting to show off your new position to colleagues, it’s important to be humble at all times. Any signs of arrogance will more than likely go down like a lead balloon.

It may seem like a relatively simple step, but this will help you cement your reputation as a person that people want to actively work with, which can go a long way in helping you build a rewarding career.

Give Adequate Notice

When initially hired, your employment contract may have outlined how much notice you are required to give your manager before you leave your job. If you don’t have a requirement like this, a good rule of thumb is to give two weeks’ notice. This ensures you’re still providing your employer with some time to find a replacement for you.

Once notice has been given, do your best to avoid the trap of mentally checking out. All too often employees can begin to lose momentum in their role by approaching their duties with a half-hearted attitude; remember that this can give a lasting impression to your former employer, and can damage your chances of receiving that all-important reference. If it becomes a struggle, try to focus upon your achievements within the business, and how you may look to build upon these further as you progress in your career.

Highlight your Contributions

With this in mind, be sure to discuss your capabilities with your manager during your exit interview/report. Ask your supervisors if you can sit down with them for around 30 minutes to ensure your discussions are thorough.

If there are aspects of your role that you haven’t enjoyed, be sure to articulate yourself appropriately. Can you give your criticisms in a more constructive way? And can you provide any solutions to common workplace problems? By demonstrating your ideas, you will be able to solidify your proactive nature to management, as well as establishing the kind of value you can bring to the table. This will help enormously when attempting to maintain a positive relationship with your team.

Go Above and Beyond for your Replacement

As you prepare to hand things other to a colleague or new employee, do everything you can to ensure that the transition runs as smoothly as possible. Something as simple as preparing some basic notes can be hugely helpful, and it also shows that you really do care about the business and its employees.

If you’re taking part in some training with your replacement, try to simplify any complex aspects to your role by coordinating some professional documentation. It can be easy to forget about those painful first few days as a new starter, but as you’ll soon be in that position yourself, do your best to be as helpful as possible.

Stay in Touch with Coworkers


After you’ve left your job, keep things positive by staying in touch with your former colleagues, whether it be online or in person.

Keeping each other updated on your work life can also help you with some valuable networking- an easy way to do this is to build up mutual connections on LinkedIn, as it can further your progress in your chosen field. Here you have a chance to document your track record of professionalism, as well as an opportunity to build relationships that can help both parties pursue successful careers.
 

In short, it’s all about being positive, professional, and approachable. These attributes will be key to cementing those important first impressions in your new role, and solidify your reputation as an attractive employee. Don’t get caught up in any hostilities- stay focused on those career goals and you’re sure to handle the transition effectively. 

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