This post originally aired on August 19, 2009. Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time around.
Do you hate your job and just want to quit? Did you find a new job and need to quit? Once you decide you've had enough, you need to develop an exit strategy to ensure a graceful departure from your current job. Here's how it might work:
Submit Your Two Weeks' Notice
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.
Depending on your reasons 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:
Opening: Express gratitude toward the employer for the knowledge you gained on the job.
Body: Discuss your intention to resign and indicate your last day on the job.
Closing: Address your intentions to contribute to a smooth departure for yourself and your department.
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 the company's 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:
- 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 (or jump-start looking for one!).
- Find out what happens with your 401(k) account and what you need to do to close it and move the funds elsewhere.
- 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.
- 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
This is simply one of those situations when moody bosses tend to freak out and tell you to leave immediately instead of letting you put in your last two weeks. If you think your boss will calm down after the initial blow, give him some space and try to address the issue at a later time. 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. 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!
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