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Do’s And Don’ts Before You Quit Your Job

Do’s And Don’ts Before You Quit Your Job

Would quitting your current job make you feel more relieved than anything else? If the answer is yes, it’s probably time to quit. Here’s how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Before You Quit, Can You Work It Out?

Remember why you first took this job? You needed it for income, yes, but I’ll bet there were other reasons as well. Perhaps your job is in a field that you love, or it involves tasks that you are really, really good at. Perhaps you really like your coworkers or your boss or your clients, or you might even just dig that lunch hangout around the corner. If you quit your job, you’ll be leaving behind all of these good things as well as the bad, so it’s worth taking some time to figure out whether you can iron out the things that aren’t working for you before you take the plunge.

  • If your job is interfering with family responsibilities, or the commute is taking up too much of your time and energy, try exploring alternative work options like flextime, job sharing, or telecommuting.
  • If you aren’t getting along with a coworker or your boss, see if you can find a way to improve or avoid these relationships by, say, asking for a transfer or setting up some mediation.
  • If you didn’t do so hot on your performance review, put your foot on your emotional clutch for a moment and ask yourself honestly whether or not the review was accurate. If it was, do your best to improve the areas you need to improve. If it wasn’t, talk with the reviewer and try to clear up any misunderstandings.
  • If you don’t like the new policies your employer put into effect, first determine whether it’s your own resistance to change that’s to blame for your unhappiness. If you genuinely think that the new policies are bad for the company, come up with a clear rationale and some solutions, and bring these up to the appropriate people.
  • Finally, if you have tried everything you can think of, and you’re still not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, ask yourself again: Would leaving your current job make you feel more relieved than anything else? If the answer is still yes, it’s probably time to look for other work.

Give Notice After You Have Another Job

Don’t: Just quit your job without warning, that is unless: you are being physically abused or sexually harassed; you’re getting physically sick from stress-related insomnia, headaches, backaches, and the like; you haven’t been paid; your work environment is unsafe; or you are being asked to do something that is clearly unethical or illegal.

Do: Provide as much notice as possible if you decide to quit your job and the situation is not dire. Two weeks is standard, but be aware of your particular company’s policy.

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Don’t: Tell anyone that you’ve decided to resign before you have a signed agreement and official start date from your new employer. At best, you’ll look pretty stupid if your new job falls through. At worst, you could motivate your boss to fire you before you have a chance to quit your job again.

Do: Tell your supervisor before you tell your coworkers.

Be Professional

Don’t: Burn bridges through negativity. People don’t see the company acting out; they see you acting out. As tempting as it might be, flaming your boss on social media or in the lunch room, trying to sabotage the company, stealing clients or proprietary information, writing a rant in your resignation letter, deleting important files, or engaging in other unprofessional behavior only reflects badly on you. Why would someone else want to hire you if they suspect you might talk smack about them on Facebook or steal their stuff? Your reputation is the most precious thing you own; take good care of it.

Do: Focus on the positive experiences you’ve had with the company. Think about and talk about your favorite coworkers and clients, and the tasks that you loved. These are good vibes that you can take with you heading in to your new job.

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Don’t: Cause resentment by making your former employer or coworkers clean up after you or replace the things that you stole.

Do: Be nice to your future replacement; after all, they’re going to have to put up with what you’re leaving behind! Carefully organize all hard copy and electronic files so others can find important documents and information easily. Clean up your computer, and pay attention to details like e-mail and phone messages: who will handle them after you’re gone? Organize and write down the status of all projects and responsibilities that you are accountable for, including the appropriate contacts on each.

Don’t: Just mark time. Your boss and your coworkers will remember those late arrivals and early clock-offs, the extra-long lunch breaks, and an overall bad attitude.

Do: Take full advantage of this opportunity. The people you work with are going to be watching you like a hawk during your final days; how often in your life are you going to have such an attentive audience? Make your final “performance” one that will make you look good for years!

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The Exit Interview

Do: Briefly explain your reason for leaving. Simply saying that you’ve accepted another job that is more in line with your career goals is enough.

Don’t: Offer too much detail about the new position or your decision to leave. The less you say, the less can be used as leverage against you.

Do: Think about what you’ll do if you receive a counter offer, but be gracious if you are going to decline it.

Don’t: Forget why you’ve decided to quit your job. Many who accept a counter offer wind up with a resignation letter in hand again a year later.

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The Transition

Don’t: Offer to rewrite the whole procedures manual, take on new projects, or otherwise pave the way toward becoming an unlimited, free and future resource to your former employer. You’re going to be on a steep learning curve in your new job, and you’ll need your energy to focus on that. Two or three phone calls or emails should be enough to help your employer or replacement make the transition. If you’re getting the sense that your old employer is having trouble letting go of you, try slowing down your response time to their queries, which will force them to either wait for you or find their own solutions. Alternatively, you could offer your services as a paid consultant.

Do: Try your best to ensure that everyone succeeds after you’re gone. Let your employer or the new hire know they can contact you—within reason—if there are any lingering questions. Review your employee handbook; agree to help hire or train someone for the position in your remaining time on the job; follow through on any final agreements; answer questions and offer feedback to subordinates; and remember to acknowledge those you worked with before you leave.

Best of luck in your transition, and may your new job be everything that you’ve ever dreamed of!

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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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