From education to employment

The Right Way to Leave a Job

A 2018 Deloitte Survey which analysed 10,455 millennials, born between 1983 and 1994, from 36 countries across the globe, found that 43 per cent of people didn’t plan to stay in their job beyond the two-year mark — the ‘job-hopping’ generation. Furthermore, only 28 per cent of the people included in the survey expected to stay in their job more than the recommended five years. This pattern of behaviour was shown to be stronger in 2019, when a millennial manager survey found that 75 per cent of millennials believed that constantly changing jobs would help advance their careers.

Long gone are the days in which school leavers would work for the same company for 49 years post-exiting education, collecting their carriage clock and ‘you’re only old once’ as they walk out the door for the final time.

With this in mind, you need to be prepared to have that rather awkward conversation with your boss about leaving, the best course of action to take to avoid a turbulent exit, and how to extinguish a potentially volatile situation.

In this article, we detail some useful suggestions on how to leave a job.

Careful Consideration

Firstly, what is it that is making you leave your job, and are you moving on for the right reasons? Take your time and carefully consider your future because, more often than not, once you’ve handed in your resignation it is hard to retract it.

Is it a colleague, or one particular aspect of your job which is making you leave? If so, is there perhaps a way in which you can better your current working environment?

If you don’t already have an alternative job lined up and this aforementioned reason is the case, then speak to your manager and see if you can come to an amicable arrangement.

Handing in Your Notice

Once you’ve made the decision that you are leaving, the first thing to do is check your contract and see where you stand legally, as a breach of the details could result in legal ramifications, which could involve facing an employment tribunal.

Two weeks is the standard notice period and most companies will accept unless stipulated otherwise in your contract. Your company might ask you to stay longer however it is completely up to you whether you want to or not. Take into consideration however, if you want to maintain a good relationship, it might be worth offering yourself to help with the transition period between now and your departure.

Assisting the company, despite the fact you are leaving, so that your loss to the business is felt as minimally as possible, will enhance your credibility. It will also safeguard the chance that, if you ever needed to, you could return. This assistance could be the training of a new member of staff, or a smooth project handover to your colleagues.

Whilst some employers will request that you work for longer, some may also ask you to leave immediately after you submit your resignation, so be prepared for that eventuality.

Writing a Resignation Letter

Let’s be honest, this certainly isn’t going to be the most enjoyable document you’re ever going to write. But it is a formal one, so remember to keep it that way.

Address the letter to your manager and use their formal title, despite the fact you may usually call them by their first name.

In the letter, state the reason you are leaving but keep it brief — this isn’t an epilogue or a place to vent your frustration with the company or your manager.

Also, there exists an opportunity within your resignation letter to ask for references and to thank your boss for their cooperation during your time of employment.

Final Touches…

Beyond this, ticking off the following checklist may help guarantee you leave your job without burning any bridges and you can move on happily:

  • Clean your computer of all your personal details and emails — it is worth doing this before you hand in your resignation in case you are escorted from your desk immediately
  • Collate all necessary information regarding human resources, such as your P45 and unused holidays
  • Make a list of everything you do in your role — it’s easily forgotten once you leave!
  • Get your colleagues’ contact details
  • Request information on the legalities of any patents you may have on work you produced whilst employed
  • Don’t be overly jubilant in the fact you’re leaving

Realistically, this isn’t going to be easy. But by following these simple steps, you can make this stage in your life significantly smoother!


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