Over the last few years, the approach to leaving a job has become a topic of discussion and a form of entertainment. Viral videos of people quitting their jobs have mesmerized the internet. There were food service workers who quit in the middle of their shifts. Corporate Zoom calls became arenas for people to air their grievances before resigning. Some people even recorded themselves cursing at their colleagues while announcing their departure. When your job has you at the end of your rope, an impassioned goodbye can be tempting. But this is not in your best interest. You should never feel obligated to pretend that your time at a job was all sunshine and flowers; however, there are a few do’s and don’ts you should consider when the time comes to pursue something new.
Acknowledge And Manage Your Frustrations
There’s an old saying that warns people to not “cut off your nose to spite your face.” This evergreen piece of advice suggests that acting out of revenge can actually hurt you more than the other person. Be wary of public denunciations of your company that can be misconstrued or misunderstood by people who lack the context of your personal experience. Unfortunately, your words can potentially work against you. In a mild situation, you can see your reputation suffer. If you signed an anti-disparagement clause, then you may even be held legally responsible for defamatory remarks about your former employer. But you don’t have to repress or bury your feelings entirely. Your emotions are valid, and you should share honest reviews during your exit interview and on career websites such as Glassdoor and Jopwell. If potential applicants reach out to you about your former employer, then you shouldn’t hold back. But it is best to avoid rash behavior that can damage your reputation.
Provide Sufficient Time
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-Being report, 71% of respondents experience stress during the workday. In addition, 44% of participants had issues with their supervisors. Given these statistics, it’s understandable that some people want to leave their jobs immediately. However, best practice still suggests giving two weeks’ notice. In fact, a 2021 Harvard Business Review article explains that it may be better to plan even further ahead. This was the personal experience of the creative coach, Chimdi Ihezi. Chimdi quit her job nearly two years ago, and she gave her former boss ample notice. Outlining her rationale, Chimdi explains: “I actually gave a huge amount of notice. I gave about three months’ notice because I was in charge of a couple of different fellowship programs that involved external stakeholders and a lot of other folks. These were sizable programs, and I knew there would have to be some offboarding in place.”
Maintain Core Relationships
Ending your employment doesn’t necessarily mean you have to end your connection with friends, mentors, and peers you met during your time there. Underscoring this sentiment, Chimdi reflects: “What I’ve learned from my career is just how important relationships are for success. I’m not the kind of person who would want to burn a bridge, so I want to be setting up everyone I work with for success. That was my intention for giving [three months’] notice.” Providing sufficient notice and telling people about your decision personally, can both help keep momentum in a relationship even after you leave. But not all relationships are created equal. Certain doors should remain closed after your departure. If a colleague was cruel, unsupportive, or xenophobic, then you should absolutely feel empowered to sever those ties. Dr Ashley A. Adams, a career coach who incorporates cultural context into her work, emphasizes this point. She explains: “People stress about burning a bridge, but you may think you have a relationship that doesn’t actually exist. If that bridge mattered, it would still be there. Instead, you should build meaningful and intentional relationships that will remain if you have valued reciprocity throughout the relationship.”
Honor Yourself Throughout The Process
The advice outlined in this article is meant to help you navigate a massive change. However, you should not tolerate a toxic work environment or feel pressured to stay in a situation that hinders your growth and development. There are certain boundaries you can implement if it lightens your emotional burden. For example, you do not need to tell all of your colleagues about your plans for your next chapter. You can decline the option to provide an exit interview if you don’t want to recount painful situations.
If you are feeling burnt out, exhausted, and depleted at your job, you are not alone. Leaving a bad situation or even leaving a good situation for a better one is an important display of self-advocacy. Best of luck as you navigate your next chapter.