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How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part III

So you've weighed your options and successfully secured a new job. Now let's take this process a step further and develop an exit strategy to ensure a graceful departure from your current job.

I quit

Submit Your Two Weeks Notice
After the euphoria of moving on to a better opportunity starts to fizzle, you're left facing the dreaded resignation letter. Note: Two weeks is standard protocol. Your current standing with the company, your anxiety to get out, or the start date of your new job can all affect the length of time you're willing to put in after you resign. Use your best judgment.

So, depending on your reason(s) for leaving, writing this letter could be a breeze or it could feel like pulling teeth. But one thing is certain: No matter how ecstatic you are to be leaving, you still have to be respectful. 

The contents of a good resignation letter look something like this:

Date

Greeting:

Opening: Express gratitude toward the employer for the knowledge you gained on the job.

Body: Discuss your intentions to resign and identify your last day on the job.

Closing: Address your intentions to contribute to a smooth departure for yourself and your department.

Signature

To deliver the news, set up a meeting with your manager. In this case, you'll verbally explain that you've found a new job and will be leaving on a certain date, but bring a printed, signed copy of your letter for their records.

Tie Up Loose Ends
After giving your notice, you'll want to go over the details of your final two weeks with your boss or HR. Here's what you'll need to straighten out:

  1. Find out how much paid time off you have left and what you're going to do with it. Some companies will pay you for the unused time while others will make you use it. If your company does the latter, apply it to your last two weeks and enjoy the time off before you start your new job.
  2. Discuss with a Human Resources or Finance Department representative what happens with your 401(k) account and what you would need to do to close it and move the funds elsewhere.
  3. Most importantly, write a list of projects you've been working on. This list will come in handy during your final weeks to make sure you finish any outstanding tasks and give your boss a heads up on what you'll be leaving behind.
  4. If they're replacing you with someone who requires training, discuss how it will be conducted and what projects might have to be moved to the backburner to fit the training into your schedule.
     

What to Do if Your Boss Freaks Out
I addressed this issue in another post, When Bosses Make Hotheaded Decisions. This is simply one of those situations in which moody bosses tend to freak out and tell you to leave immediately instead of putting in your last two weeks. If you think your boss will calm down after the initial blow, give him/her some space and try to address the issue at a later time (or the next day). You can try to salvage the professional relationship or take the hasty reaction as your cue to take an extended vacation.

Your last two weeks might feel like the longest of your life — that's usually what happens when you have something so exciting to look forward to. Just make sure to add your soon-to-be ex-colleagues to your network list in the process. You never know when they'll come in handy!

What experiences have you had in leaving a job? Did your boss flip out, causing you to leave earlier than you expected you would? Let us know!

Related Links

How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part I
How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part II

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