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How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges

You're ready and you're doing it - you're going to quit your job.

And you realized that you have no idea how to quit your job gracefully that makes sure you will be marked as rehireable (should you ever choose to boomerang), you won't be the talk of the company gossip for weeks to come, and most importantly, you feel good about.

You can have it all - even when you quit. Let's walk through each step of the process.

Step 1: Know When To Quit

One of the biggest things people worry about is: when should i quit my job.

Depending on where you are, your relationship with your company and boss, and when your new job begins, this answer can vary. In the US and Canada, the standard is to provide two weeks notice; however some professionals choose to give more notice, and those that live in an at will state choose to give none.

To keep in mind when you are in an At Will state, that once you give your notice, that may be it (and it for your paycheck).

Considering these things, set your end date and your quit date and move on to Step 2...

Step 2: Keep It on the Down-low

The worst thing that can happen is your boss finds out from someone who is not you that you are preparing to put in your notice.

Don't be fooled into thinking you can just tell a few people, swearing them to secret on their Netflix accounts, but juicy secrets like this don't stay secrets.

They become the focus of office gossip.

Unless someone was actively involved in your accepting another offer - do not tell anyone.

Not your work husband.

Not your deskmate.

Not your lunch crew.

Talk to your boss before you tell anyone else.

Step 3: Prepare for the Meeting

This meeting needs to happen live. Whether it is in person, over video or, or by a good old fashioned phone call, it must happen in a meeting.

I know this is nerve wracking and possibly really emotional, so let's get prepared...

First, book the meeting unless you have a standing 1:1 meeting you can utilize for the quitting conversation.

Know what you're going to say. If you are going to give a reason, know what reason you're going to give (keep it positive).

Finally, have a letter of resignation ready to provide; they'll need it for the formal process (i.e. to make it official). There is a template you can use at the end of this post.

Step 4: Have the Conversation

You might be a ball of stress when you walk in; even when you are excited for the new opportunity (or to escape your toxic company), it's still the end of a chapter. Emotions come with it.

If you feel emotional, you can open by acknowledging it.

State that you are giving notice that you are leaving, the reason why, and most importantly, express gratitude. Hopefully you are thankful for the opportunity you had at this company for a ton of reasons... but in lieu of that hopefully there is at least one.

I will caveat that if you are exiting a toxic or hostile workplace, you do not need to feign gratitude. If it's inauthentic, they will feel it. Instead, you can say you appreciate what you learned (don't specify it was how to spot a toxic AF manager).

Step 5: Be Ready for a Counter Offer

Not everyone gets one, but if you think you may, you need to prepare in advance.

I've personally been in the situation where I had a significant raise offered if I stayed, and without the resolve I had in my decision, I may have been tempted to accept it (it was that much).

The most important thing to know when it comes to counter offers is this: 90% of professionals who accept a counter offer will leave the company within 12 months - either by quitting or by being terminated (ouch). If you need to prepare for this scenario, I dive in this video.

Step 6: Announce Your Exit

Now your boss knows, you can tell your work friends, colleagues you work closely with and your team.