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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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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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