In the Job

How to quit your job properly

Whether you hate your job or are moving onto pastures new, make sure you quit the right way.

Are you at the stage where you hate going into work each day? Do you think that it’s time to move on to pastures new? Whatever your reasons, perhaps you’ve decided that you need to leave your current employer, whether it’s a part-time role or a position on a graduate training scheme.

Before you rush into anything though, it’s wise to know the best way to go about things. How you leave can have a massive impact on your future career, so it’s worth getting it right.

Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of leaving your job.

Reasons for quitting responsibly

If you’re really fed up, you might be tempted to just never show your face at your current place of work ever again or go out in a blaze of glory. However, we strongly advise that you don’t take this approach! Here’s why:

  • quityourjobYou might need a reference – Most employers will ask for a reference from your previous employer before they take you on. If you’ve followed protocol when it comes to leaving, you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons when your boss sits down to write about you.
  • Employers talk! – Bosses tend to network, and if you leave on a bad note, you can be sure that somewhere down the line, someone else will find out about it. If you’re known for being unreliable, this will no doubt impact upon your future career prospects. Make sure that when employers are talking about you, they only have positive things to say.
  • You never know when your network could come in handy – You’ve probably made some great contacts at work, even if you don’t realise it now. At some point in the future, you might be able to call upon their expertise for a project you’re working on or a new opportunity you want to pursue. So don’t burn your bridges unnecessarily!

How to quit responsibly

Give a written notice

Written noticeFirstly, refer to your employee handbook, or access the company policies on your intranet system. In most organisations, there’ll already be a process in place for handing in a notice. Follow the guidelines where possible, but if they don’t exist, put everything in writing anyway.

A typed letter is all you will need along with a verbal notice. Keep it simple, positive and short and just mention the date you will be looking to leave as well as thanking your employer for all that they have given you. Give it directly to your boss and send a copy to the HR department.

Ask for a reference

As you leave you should ask for a reference from your current employer because once you leave the job it can become harder to track down your old boss.

If you ask them face to face then they will most likely write one for you.

Return any work property

It may seem like a good idea to “borrow” the office stationary or the mobile that they gave you for your job but you should always offer to give it back.

In some cases your employer may say that you are welcome to hold onto any office equipment though so fingers crossed.

Work your full notice period

Notice periodAgain, your notice period will probably be provided in company literature or on your contract. Even if you’ve got a new job offer in the bag and are itching to get started as soon as possible, always make every effort to work your notice period.

Just leaving with no notice could cause massive problems for your employer when it comes to business continuity, so show them some consideration. You’ll be pleased that you did once they’ve provided you with a glowing reference!

It’s worth noting that you can use up any remaining holiday in this notice period too. You should also be paid for your whole notice period unless you and your employer agree to terminate the contract early.

Say goodbye to everyone

If you get on well with your colleagues then it’s likely that you may have a leaving party. Make sure that you say goodbye to all of your workmates as well as your boss.

We know this sounds obvious but it’s something that a lot of employees forget.

Anything else I need to consider?

Your company will have its own way of handling things, but there’s probably some administration that you need to get sorted. Giving back your keys, receiving your P45, and working out whether you’re owed any holidays before you go are all boring tasks but they need to be done.

Speak to your boss or your HR department about anything that needs to be ticked off your list.


How do you handle the sometimes difficult process of leaving a job?

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