How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges

So, you’ve decided to move on and want to quit your job. Congratulations. It’s a scary prospect to decide to go out and do something new. Many people choose to stay stuck and not seek better things in their life because they fear the unknown. But whether you have something already lined up or aren’t sure where you’ll go next, ensuring that you leave your existing job on a high note is important.

Not only does a professional exit look good on you, but it leaves the company feeling secure and more willing to help you down the road. If you are leaving to start your own company, you’ll find that a proper exit with professional courtesy will go a long way.

Maybe it won’t pay off today, but eventually, a well-rounded departure will bode well for you. And look at it this way: even if you never see or speak to anyone from your current company ever again, at least you know they won’t be out there bad-mouthing you to potential clients.

Here’s how you can leave your job without burning any bridges. It might feel great to flip your boss the bird and storm out of the room thinking you’re better than all this, but it won’t look good down the road. Trust us.

How to Quit Your Job without Burning Bridges

Get Clear on Why You Are Leaving

Before you actually make the decision to leave your job, you’ve no doubt been toying with the idea for some time. People don’t suddenly decide they aren’t happy in their positions. It’s interesting to watch people’s motivation simmer over time and it’s more likely that you have been feeling worn down, uninspired, or just want to pursue something that feels better to you or more closely aligns with your values than what you’re doing right now.

If any of this sounds like you, make sure you keep that to yourself. Your boss doesn’t want to hear about how bored you are at work. Whether they want that type of feedback or not, they believe they are providing you with a rich working experience and can’t imagine why you’d want to leave.

So when you get clear on why you are leaving, put it in your back pocket and save it for yourself. You need to create a reason that will leave your boss feeling better about themselves. This isn’t about boosting someone’s ego – it’s about protecting yourself on the way out the door.

How to Quit Your Job without Burning Bridges

What Happens if They Turn the Tables on You?

A lot of times, employers will decide to terminate a position as soon as it is announced that an employee is leaving. There are many risks and issues associated with allowing an employee to hang around once they have decided they are no longer interested in pursuing a career with that company. If they decide to ask you to leave, just go quietly. It’s better than making a scene.
Before you head out the door though, make sure to follow all exit protocols. If they ask you for an interview, be sure to participate in it and be honest on your way out the door – keeping in mind that there’s no need to criticize anyone at this point.

If you aren’t sticking around to see the improvement, it’s not worth telling people they are bad at their jobs. It just makes you look resentful as they ask you to pack your things.

You need to be prepared to lose control of the situation when you decide to leave your job. You might think you have the upper hand because you are leaving, but it’s best to just do as you are asked and abide by any rules and regulations for exiting the company.

Immediately After You Leave the Position

After the dust has settled and you are feeling good about your decision to vacate, make sure you send a follow-up note to your boss or supervisor. This is a kind gesture that can let people know there are no hard feelings left between you.

This will be important if your exit goes sideways and you end up saying things you didn’t mean to say, or you get frustrated with the process of trying to resign. Sending a note to express your gratitude for the opportunity and to wish the company well after your departure is a sign of good faith and ensures you have the last word.

How to Quit Your Job without Burning Bridges

You can leave the company with a good impression of you, even if you didn’t manage to make a good impression on your way out.

Now that you’re onto bigger and better things, it’s important that you don’t talk about the old company in a negative light. Nobody wants to hear about how you hated your old boss. If you need to talk about it at all, for any reason, be sure to focus on what you learned and how you grew in that role and what you were able to contribute to the company.

Focusing on the positive is the best way to ensure that it never gets back to the company or its employees that you were being unprofessional.

What’s Next for You?

As time goes on, you’ll find that you think about that company less and less, but if you ever bump into your old colleagues or your old boss, it’s best to continue to act in a professional manner.

The more professional you are, the better you’ll represent your new company or business. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to quitting a job. It’s not like you just get to walk away forever. It will always be a part of you and your career path and so you want to do your best to show it in a favorable way.

Whether you’ve decided to work for yourself or take a position at another company, keep in mind that the way you leave a company will have to be explained at some point to another person.

After it’s all said and done, decide how you want to tell the story of your exit. Make sure you focus on the facts and what you gained from the experience. There’s no need to cast blame or even talk about individual people involved in the situation. Keep your focus on yourself and you’ll be able to move from that experience in a professional way that benefits you down the road.


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