So it's the end of the year and you just got your bonus, or know its coming soon. You've received a new job offer, are off to pursue more schooling, or have some other cool opportunity ahead and you want to quit. Perhaps you had a bad boss, felt undervalued at times and overworked often. A part of you wants to stick it to "the man" and brag that you are moving on. You are tempted to even dance out of the office to Kanye like Marina Shifrin (below)...
While the viral video resignation seemed epic and awesome, there's more to the story and her circumstances were pretty unique. Even the woman in the video would tell you "Don’t do it. Don’t quit in an epic way." It's important to leave on a good note because most industries are incestuous. Talent travels from company to company and you don't know who you may be working with again or what relationship you may need to leverage. You want people to talk about how great of a team player you were when you're gone, not how rude you were when you left your team hanging. Keep it professional and aim to leave with an open door.
Here's what you want to avoid:
Not giving notice. Even if you had a bad experience, give notice. Whether it's two weeks or a month, let your boss and HR know that you plan to leave. This gives them time to prepare and find someone to fulfill your position. Your reputation will follow you, so make sure you are following proper protocol and making it easy for everyone.
Telling someone else before you tell your manager. Have you been thinking about quitting for a while? Don't talk about it with your coworkers. Discuss your desire with friends, family and people outside of work that you trust. Your boss should never be blindsided by your exit by hearing about it from someone else. Tell your boss first and foremost!
Citing all the issues you had with your employer. When one of my friends resigned from her job, she aired out all her grievances in her resignation letter. Turns out her new boss knew her old one and her new job could've been threatened if her old boss wasn't so lenient. Her boss could have easily shared the rude letter with her new manager. Save the negativity for drinks with friends and focus on being grateful. If you have true recommendations (not just a list of complaints), share the feedback in an exit interview.
Being vocal about how excited you are to leave. Don't constantly bring up how happy you'll be once you leave your current job, it is offensive to those who are staying and it makes you sound ungrateful. Whether you're leaving because of a bad work environment or a new opportunity, telling people how excited you are to leave will make them resent you. No one wants to hear how great your life will be when you leave a job they're still at.
Here's how you can make your exit a professional win:
Close out projects you were working on. Make sure that work you're in the middle of is seen to completion. Want to go above and beyond? Create a document explaining the need-to-knows of all your projects to help smooth the transition of whoever is taking on your work.
Review your time there. Now is the time to really assess the skills you developed and new learnings from this role and figure out what you can take to the next job. Whether individually or with your manager, take a step back to identify what you've gained from your time spent. This can help you identify your transferrable skills for the next role, improve how you are crafting your story, or even how you update your resume going forward. Talking with your boss and team can provide closure and help you identify areas where you've grown that you might be missing.
Spend time on your goodbye emails. Be gracious. Thank your boss and your team and highlight some lessons you've learned from this experience. Lay out what you've contributed. This is a great time to highlight your impact and those that helped make it happen.
Get face-time with all the people you want to stay connected with. Plan lots of coffees and lunches in your final days. Create a plan for how you'll stay connected going forward so you can keep and build on the relationships you have fostered in this role. You're likely to cross paths with your peers again or people that they know. Be intentional so you can ensure you stay in touch.
Write hand written thank you notes to everyone you've worked with and especially those on your team. Everyone needs recognition and affirmation, especially in an authentic way. This little touch of detail adds a personal touch to you leaving and makes you memorable.
You might have the misperception that when you leave, you'll never need these people again, especially if you are leaving your industry, but people move just like you do. And when reviewing your resume, when hiring managers notice that you've worked at the same company as "so and so" who works there now, they are very likely to ask that person about you. Make sure your crazy epic resignation isn't the the thing they have to remember you by.