What are some “best practices” you should follow when it’s time to quit? Reader T asks about how to give notice when you leave a job…
We’ve discussed in the past about how to know if it is the right time to move on to a new job, how to interview while working, and how to transition files to other coworkers after you give your notice — but I would love to hear everyone’s stories of how they actually gave their notice. Procedurally, logistically, how does one “give notice”? Whom do you tell? In person or via email? How have Corporette readers given their notice when they have left a job in the past?
Congratulations on your new job, T! We have talked about how to quit gracefully, how to quit when your mentor is your boss, and how to handle exit interviews, but not in a while, and I’m excited to hear what readers say. Personally, every time I’ve quit I’m surprised at how maudlin I become. Even with jobs I couldn’t WAIT to quit with some dramatic “blaze of glory” action (um, remember this story about the flight attendant sliding to freedom?), I’ve inevitably sat across from my “evil” soon-to-be-former boss and gotten teary-eyed about how much I would miss everyone. So, hey. For my $.02:
- Tell your boss first. If you have several people above you, think who would be MOST upset about hearing it secondhand, and then make sure to tell that person first. (I don’t mean this in an “aww, she’ll really miss you!” kind of way — I mean it in the “she’ll feel slighted/look dumb if she doesn’t know first” way.) Don’t mention it to other colleagues, junior supervisors, subordinates, etc. — if you want to keep that professional connection open, your boss needs to hear it from YOU.
- If several people on your team might be upset to hear it secondhand, make several appointments during a single morning so you can tell all of them seriatim. During this conversation they may ask who else knows, in which case I think it’s fine to tell that person, “I just spoke to X, and at 11:00 I’m going to speak to Z.” I’d suggest scheduling your appointments on the hour because you never quite know how the conversation will go: Some people may want to immediately talk about transition details (who gets what, let’s bring X up to speed, etc), some people may say “OK, we’ll miss you, HR will set up your exit interview,” and the talk is done in three minutes, while still others may want to reminisce about the times you’ve worked together and the fun you’ve had.
- After you’ve told everyone on your team who absolutely, definitely needs to hear it from you, there’s likely someone in administration who needs to hear it — HR, a VP, payroll, an office manager, etc.
- Be prepared to leave THAT DAY if you have to. Depending on what job you’re leaving and what job you’re going to, you may be asked to pack up and leave that day. If you have any personal stuff on your work computer (or, gasp, you’re using your work email for personal reasons), stay late one night before giving notice and take a few hours to get those ducks in a row. Similarly, if you keep any clothes in your office you wouldn’t want your secretary to have to box up and send to you (hey, I’ve kept workout clothes, extra pantyhose, and more), make sure you have those packed in a special bag ready to go.
- BUT: be prepared to have to stay 2-4 weeks. It really depends what’s normal at your company and your level.
I know some friends have arranged vacations for the time between two jobs — and others who have started straight away. (Take a mini vacation if you can!)
Ladies, what are your thoughts on how to give notice when you leave a job? Who hears it first — and how did those conversations go? What have your experiences been regarding timing?
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