How to Quit Your Job: An HBR Guide

How to Quit a Job

How to Quit Your Job: An HBR Guide

People everywhere are thinking about quitting their jobs. But how do you decide if this is the right decision for you? And if you do decide to quit, how do you give your notice and leave gracefully? This article collects HBR’s best advice on the topic and covers everything from how to tell your boss to how much notice to give.

By now you’ve probably heard about the so-called “Great Resignation.” In the last few months, survey after survey have shown that people everywhere are thinking about quitting their jobs. It seems that the global pandemic has caused many of us to reconsider what we want from our careers (and our employers) — and the strong job market has granted us the freedom to make changes.

If you’re one of the millions of people who are considering giving notice, you’re probably wondering the best way to do it. Fortunately, this is a topic that HBR has covered quite a bit over the years, so I dug into our archive to surface our best advice.

Follow an exit strategy.

Get the timing right.

You don’t want to leave when you are most needed in your role. Quitting during the holiday season, for example, might be inconvenient enough for your boss to resent you. The key is to plan ahead. Think about how quitting will affect the company and determine when the best time to quit is.

Warn your manager about your impending resignation.

You don’t want your resignation to appear out of the blue. Talk to your boss weeks in advance of your resignation. Let them know about your grievances, demands, or ambitions. This way, when you’re ready for the conversation, it won’t feel like a jarring transition from satisfied employee to disgruntled one, catching your boss by surprise. It makes the conversation much easier to have.

Communicate with your future employer.

If you have your next job secured, speak to your future employer and iron out the details of the transition. Determine how long you have before you are required to start, and ask for more time well in advance if you think you might take a little longer to properly phase out your current job. It’s important to keep your next boss in the loop as well.

What People Remember

Keep in mind that the way you behave when leaving a job will create a lasting impression that can impact how co-workers and former managers remember you long term. Handle yourself with nothing less than the highest standard of professionalism regardless of the reason your are leaving.

If you were in a bad situation, there is no reason to spread negativity on your way out the door. Doing so will send more of a message about you than the place where you worked. Instead, make sure that anyone you used to work with can only say that you conducted yourself appropriately and respectfully to the end. This will go a long way toward preserving relationships that may be beneficial to you in the future and ensuring that your reputation stays positive in the business community.


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