The times may be tough, from an economic standpoint, but there are some lines which, if crossed, will make even the most patient and hardworking employee want to quit her job. And, since the times really are tough, employers often commit transgressions against their staff which may result in unexpected resignations. If you’ve been meaning to hand in that final letter, you might want to reconsider making a big statement. Sure, there was that one viral video of a CGI animator who quit her job – but don’t forget that she got a worthy response from the company she had just resigned from. And then there’s the resignation op-ed published in The New York Times, signed by Greg Smith, formerly with Goldman Sachs. Not everyone is Greg Smith, though, so your best bet on how to quit your job is to play it safe and not burn any bridges behind you. Here are five interesting pieces of advice on how to resign in a civil, conflict-proof manner.
Control your anger
… but also expect that others might have their own reasons to get angry. Accept that, as you learn how to quit your job as gracefully as possible, the others will try to move on, too. Amusingly, this often involves having your desk and/or office looted of furniture, or even of office supplies. Try not get angry with that either; also, be accepting of the fact that some people will just ignore the news of you leaving altogether. This is simply a way of coping with change, which should not cloud your judgment. After all, you want people to get over your leaving easily and uneventfully, right?
Avoid company communication channels
After you’ve mastered the finer points of how to quit your job, it is now time to go looking for a new one – that is, if you haven’t got a new contract in the works already. Either way, whatever you do, it’s best that you steer clear of using company communication channels, such as the company cell phone or e-mail address, to apply for jobs, contact clients, or discuss new job arrangements. Bear in mind that these communication methods provide legal evidence against you, in case of a lawsuit based on a breach of contract. Also, even if things don’t go that far, your employer might still be tracking your communication through them. Don’t give them any reason to do so – or, even worse! – to undermine your process of moving onto a new position.
Learn how to quit your job legally
At this point, before handing in that resignation letter, you might want to review your contract, as well as any other legal documents you may have signed with your current employer. You don’t want to be found breaching any of their clauses – confidentiality and non-competition clauses are often the thorniest ones in the process of resignation. Make sure you understand all your legal obligations toward your soon-to-be former employer; if not…
Consult with a lawyer
If your line of work is particularly sensitive, one great piece of advice on how to quit your job is: “look for professional advice”. Have you signed lots of contracts and legal documents during your stay with them? Is the company known for pursuing legal action against their employees? Better safe than sorry: have a lawyer review all your documentation together with you and ask them to explain any terms or clauses you don’t fully understand. Your lawyer should be able to help with any legal provisions, so that you commit no transgressions during the resignation process.
Leave room for hello
After all is said and done, there is no foul-proof way of resigning. Your best bet is understanding how to quit your job without any bitterness spilling over, or animosity being created in the process. Acknowledge the fact that some people (your direct hierarchical supervisor in particular) might feel upset that you are leaving the job. There might be some office rumors and/or gossip generated by the event. Try not to fuel it by making some grand gesture on your way out. You never know when and how you might bump into these people along the tracks of your future professional career – which is why you should strive to always leave some room for a civil relationship.