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How to Quit Gracefully?

September 1, 2015

Employees can run emotionally high on the last day of their job, some might even consider a dramatic exit – sharing their journey at the job role with colleagues and expressing dislikes more expressively and openly to one and all. Some view it as an opportune moment to comment or make remarks about the employer or colleague before walking out.

While some others consider this day as the one last time when they can vent out their frustrations to peers at work and feel good about it. As important is the first impression at work, the last impression takes you long way down the road to success. The impression you leave on colleagues and bosses on your last day at work will be always remembered by them.

So do not think this is the end of the road with the previous employer and show any sense or arrogance or disrespect towards your colleagues on the last day at work. A graceful exit can help shore up valuable relationships; however a dramatic bad exit can damage your goodwill and personal brand built during your tenure with the organisation. Do not make a scene when quitting and do not try getting vigilant justice which can make you feel good.

Many employees forget that their former colleagues and bosses will be their future references, so do not offend anyone with comments when leaving. In case, your employer asks you to quit, do not vent your anger on any of the office equipments or divulge any confidential company information to third-parties as you depart. Remember, this is not the end of the road but just the beginning of a new journey.

Many at times, employees’ reason out that they will never use references of their past employer, but tales of last-day behaviour spread like wildfire and “backdoor references” can always be sought by the future employers. This is one among the cautious hiring practices followed by companies today. Prospective employers connect on LinkedIn and contact candidate’s former colleagues and employers for recommendations and references.

See: 6 Tips to Make a Wise Career Switch

When quitting, your colleagues might be generally interested to understand reasons on why you plan to move on in job –  always cite general reasons such as better opportunity, travel convenience, better work-life balance etc. Avoid complaining, ill-talk about staffers, or enumerate bad behaviour by your boss to flare up issues when you quit. This will be not be viewed in good regards by your peer groups and thus create room for backdoor office gossips, post your exit.

Your saviour on the last day at job

  • Remember you might encounter your past colleagues and co-workers in the future, either as customers or clients, so always leave on a pleasant note gracefully.
  • Give more positive feedback and do not take this day as an opportunity to complain, when quizzed by HR managers at the exit interview.
  • Set a lunch date with few colleagues you trust at work the most in future to keep up the relationship alive.
  • When transferring responsibilities, always help others to take over the work load and guide them through the process, in areas you think they might face problems. Always share your experiences for the benefit of the other.
  • Always keep your relationship intact and respect people, do not offend them while quitting.
  • Work hard and complete all the tasks that are supposed to be done by you, before your last day is over.
  • Stay away from absenteeism at work during the notice period, before you quit your current job. Only apply for leaves if absolute necessity. Absenteeism during the notice period will not be viewed in good light. This can impact on the references you receive post quitting the current job.

Another major hurdle to quitting is the exit interview. When HR managers try retention practices by asking probing questions, it is never wise to respond with a barrage of criticism.

If you want to talk, express to your family and friends, but not to fellow colleagues at work especially when you’re quitting. While responses to exit interview are almost always confidential, sometimes executives and top managers can soon figure out who gave the critical feedback, this might not work well in your favour for the future.

Also read: Dealing with Ruthless Priorities and Guilt: Negotiating Workload

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