Career centre

How to go about quitting your current job

By Breda Graham

Making the decision to quit your job can be difficult in itself. Figuring out how to go about it can be a whole other ballgame.

Just remember that it’s not as scary as it may seem at first.

Firstly, trust your instinct and the reasons for your decision to quit. At the end of the day, only you truly know what’s best for you, so once the decision to quit has been made, then stick with it and follow through.

Whether you have been searching for another job for a short length of time or a long period of time, or whether you know in yourself that you are ready for the next step in your career or taking on a new career path, it doesn’t make the decision to leave any easier.

People associate quitting with negativity, be it you feel your letting colleagues down or your employers down, but remember the reason you made this decision and put yourself first.

That said, there are ways that can help you to quit your job in a respectful fashion.

So how do you quit your job? Here are some tips on how to get you through.

Prepare yourself

If you have made a very definite decision to leave your job, then be prepared.

While most employers will want you to work the notice period specific to the company, some employers may want you to leave right away, depending on how they take the resignation.

Have a plan of action and keep in mind that you are making this decision for you.

Before you leave, save important files or contacts that you may want to keep, in particular, if you work from a company laptop.

It is a good idea to invest in a portable hard drive, save your files and then delete all personal information from the laptop’s hard drive.

Resignation letter

Prepare and draft a resignation letter and read over it a few times to make sure you are happy with it.

It may be tempting to take the easy way out and send an email, but legally and out of respect for your employers, you should type up a resignation letter, ask to speak to them privately and hand them the letter explaining to them why you have decided to leave.

The letter should be to the point, stating the role you are resigning from and what your final working day will be, taking into consideration company-specific notice time.

Always thank your employer too.

Know when you need to leave

Be prepared for your employer to ask you to work a longer notice period than what your contract states.

They may ask this of you to give them more time to hire a replacement.

You are not legally required to work longer than what your contract states as your notice period but you may decide to as a favour to your employers. It could also give you an opportunity to ask for a reference.

Remember you can always say no and if you have a definite date you must finish by, or meet them halfway and work for a few extra days.

Consider offers

If you have secured a new job and your employer offers you a counter offer such as a promotion or an increase in salary, always take the time to think about it, even if your decision to leave is indefinite.

Thank them for the offer and explain that a new position is what is best for your career.

Keep momentum

Do not get lazy about work having handed in your resignation letter.

It can be tempting to slack off and take it easier knowing that you will be gone in a couple of weeks but do not give in to an easy life.

Remain focused and give the job your all until you walk out the door for the last time.

Employers will notice if you start o slack off and you may not get that shiny reference you may need soon or at some point down the line.

Say goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy, especially if you are close to your colleagues and you have a good working relationship with your employers.

Leaving a job doesn’t always mean you want to, it can simply just be the right time to move up in your career, change career or explore better opportunities.

Take time on your final day to thank colleagues and your employers and say a personal goodbye before leaving.