How to Quit Your Job In Dignified Way

In my 10 years of work life, I have quit three jobs so far. I have quit two major technology companies and a small start-up firm. I am fortunate enough to be in regular touch with all my previous managers because I exited in dignified manner.

At some point of time you and I will again quit, well, most probably. Most of us will quit our jobs in next 10 years. The question is, in which manner you will leave your employer. When grass is greener the other side, its difficult to maintain the same cordial and warm relationship with your current employer, specially during last few days when you are finishing up unfinished tasks or preparing your replacement to fit in your shoes.

When you are counting your days at current employer,  spare a thought for the people you are leaving behind, the company you are quitting from, which provided your pay check for last few months or years. Imagine the day when you joined them and started embarking on a journey together. The enthusiasm and zeal you showed during first few days those were for real, those were to excel in your new job. For whatever reasons you are quitting make it memorable for the people you are leaving behind.

To me parting is always painful; I had my bad days in office when people around me chipped in to help. Those moments of joy, however few it might have, when we celebrated on team’s success always stays on my heart. I just can’t say good-bye and move on.

When I did quit, I made sure to follow these quitting rules are adhered, it’s another essential aspect of being a valuable employee.

1. Always calculated the net benefit

It is not just related to increase in compensation. I always do a research on the new company before I say ‘yes’ to them. Fortunately all the companies I worked/working for had someone in their payroll that I knew before can be another great resource to have an idea of the work environment about a company. Some one said even if grass is greener on the other side, it has to be mowed regularly to have it that way.

Proximity to residential area is also another important factor for me, I just can’t think of commuting for hours to reach office every day, my energy will be soaked that way before starting my day at work, leaving apart the gas cost.

2. Always gave my employer another chance

I have had talks with higher management before submitting my resignation. I did bring in to their notice about my complaints and worries. I even talked about lower compensation. I always noted down my points as to why I want to quit. I never hesitated to mention all the points I had written down to the managers. Many times my issues were addressed, even my salary was increased, and I got relocated to another place.

Know your reasons, and be straight forward to discuss them with any one at the top. Be open to accept their point of view and carefully think about the options you are offered, are they going to cure your unhappiness? If not, approach higher management again. Nobody cares about your job more than you do.

Tip: before those meetings I had job(s) in my hand, remember you will not be lucky always, and, you have no other option but to put your papers.

3. I made it dignified exit

I never said anything bad about my employer, manager or co-workers. Even the rudest of them was greeted with warm smile and acknowledgement. I never inspired others to quit. Gossiping about the boss is perhaps the most loved office hallway talk, but never assume that someone is not spying for him, because most likely some one is. Did you ever think why suddenly your manager turned a blind eye on you? I never inspired others to leave the team; I always revealed my intention to quit first to my manager, not to colleagues.

I always gave notice of resignation in written email/letter to my manager and served the full notice period required. During that period, I visited each of my colleagues and had warm conversation. I did visit my manager and his peers and shared a few moments of glory working with them. I almost always heard the same thing from them “when you wish, let us know, we will take you back” or similar sounding sentences.

Your current manager might become one of your rescuers one day, when getting jobs become tough each and every past manager becomes your potential recruiter, I always want to keep options to go back open.

In global economy jobs are bound to shift from one place to other, no job is secure and I want to keep my options open when I need some. I keep my doors open.

4. I didn’t lose my grip during last few days

No matter how hard you try, it’s pretty tough to continue working with same rigor during last few days. But I did work up to my level best, whether it was during knowledge transfer or finishing up with project work. I stayed for longer hours and made sure my replacement is more than ready.

If first impression is the best impression, it’s the last impression which people remember for years. I try to leave a positive image of me. I did send nice and brief email thanking every one I worked with and urging them to be in touch through personal email.

5. I didn’t reveal where I was going

You can’t satisfy every one at your job, someone bound to be jealous and uncooperative. Keeping this species in mind, and I never revealed anything about my next employer before settling down in new job. Backstabbers are a clan present at every nook and corner, these people take pride in ruining other people’s career, beware of them and leave no chance for them to make you the next target.

6. I kept the secret buried 

In my job I often come across secret information, data and reports, I always let it remain a secret. I am a technologist I keep application code (software) on my machine because I need them always but, I do not keep source code with me once I quit.

If you have signed on the code of conduct or non disclosure agreements, it’s illegal to keep proprietary or company secret data once they outlive their purpose for you, if found guilty, your career might come to an end. I never had my new employer asking for those data but, if they do I will have to firmly say ‘No’.

I do take with me the learning from past jobs, the knowledge and skills you acquire are your assets and they will surely impress people at new job.

As a result of these efforts, I can confidently say that all three of my previous employers will at least consider taking me back if I am willing. I have a cordial relationship with my previous managers; I do keep in touch with them through Face book and Linked-in. I do share my important life events with them, regardless to say that many of my old colleagues are still my best friends.

Tip: No matter how satisfied you are with your job, it doesn’t hurt to look for better options, a change of atmosphere is good for your senses, your mind, your skills and your pocket.

Next time you start thinking of quitting, spare a thought, can you follow the above steps? 

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    • says

      thanks Hunter, as always for your support and encouragement! You can definitely discuss the move, in a way not to entice them to quit, and seek advice from them. But make it sure they are your friends more than your boss’s

  1. says

    I agree with all that you mentioned except not revealing where you are going. Many times people can help you at future jobs as well, or you may need to use them for a reference. I think it’s good to keep in touch.

    • says

      As I said, you can seek help from current colleagues once you are settled in your new job. This applies to people in general. You can discuss your move with very close circle of friends who you absolutely trust. Good Point and thanks for your comment Jackie

  2. World of Finance says

    Very admirable qualities :) I never like to burn my bridges either. Maintaining relationships with companies and people you work with are important. Even if I’m about to leave a job, I maintain strong work ethic up to the very last day.

    • says

      I like that term “never burn my bridges” reminded me of second world war when soviet troops were doing the same thing :) Thanks for comment glad to know that you apply same tactics.

  3. says

    I’ve been on the verge of quitting for the last year. Instead of quitting I think I will use your advice and talk to management about the problems..haha Thanks for this great post.

      • Rod Gotty says

        So, you negotiate with top management only when you have job in hand with new employer. I see two problems with this approach if you are successful negotiating with your current employer. First, they will feel you coerced them into providing you with their concessions. As a result, you will be less likely to earn raises and/or promotions; and, the company will feel less likely to trust your loyalty since you demonstrated your propensity to leave. Second, you will now have to burn your bridge with your potential new employer. Having a job in hand means you already went through a formal negotiation process with them that resulted in you signing a letter of intent. So, if you make amends with your current employer, don’t expect to call again on your potential new employer later down the road when the relationship with your current employer sours from you threatening to leave them.

        • jay says

          Good points, but it also depends on the case at hand. If the new position is at the next level, or there is a significant jump in compensation, then your current employer also should understand these things and stay “up-to-date” with the market. We currently live in a world where you don’t get anything unless you ask. So even if your current employer is the best in the world, and you are also a great employee, don’t expect competitive raises or promotions to be handed on platter unless you ask. Maybe the current employer thought that you were very happy until you shot off the resignation letter. Then negotiating after the resignation maybe a win-win for both.

          About burning bridges with the new employer, I don’t think there should be a problem here if you stay back with your current employer. But the key is communication here and is incumbent on you to explain the new employer that your current employer has addressed all the career advancement related concerns you had. Of course, if you move on to new employer B after promising new employer A, then that’s another story.

  4. says

    You’ve made some good points here. It’s not really easy to leave or quit a job and go to another one especially if you are currently working for a good employer. Sometimes the feeling of loyalty will be holding you back which is not good since keeping your present job only because of loyalty will make you unhappy eventually and regretful of your decision to stay.

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