Quitting with Class-How to handle it the right way

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5 Tips for Quitting With Class

It seems like the unofficial employment motto of the past two years has been, “Any job is a good job.” But with the job market finally starting to show signs of a recovery, more workers are finding themselves ready to leave their current positions in favor of something better suited to their skills and career goals. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently reported, “In February, the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

However, even if you’ve been stuck in a job you’ve disliked for years, or have been counting down the days until you could tender your resignation, quitting a job should always be handled in a professional manner, to ensure you leave your employer with your network and professional reputation intact.

Here are five tips to ensure you quit with class.

Work hard until the end

If you have a new job lined up, it might be tempting to spend your last few weeks in your current position nodding off at your desk or ignoring e-mails from your soon-to-be ex-boss. “Don’t slack off or ‘check out’ because you know a new opportunity is coming up,” says Mark Newman, CEO of HireVue, a video-interview company headquartered in Salt Lake City.  This will ensure that you leave a lasting, positive impression at your old company.

Be gracious

Regardless of how ready you were to move on to a new job, it’s still important to show your appreciation for your old employer. “Be grateful and appreciative of the opportunity [your employer] gave you,” says Newman, who suggests thanking co-workers and managers with handwritten notes.

No matter what, acting like you’re better than your co-workers because you got a new job is a sure-fire way to make enemies. Much of the success that enabled you to land a new position probably couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of your co-workers. “I once watched someone act like ‘see ya later — don’t need you anymore — I’m out of here!’ when the exact opposite was true,” Newman says. Remember, you’re likely to cross paths with people in your industry over and over again, and you never know where your old co-workers will show up.  Be nice.

Give appropriate notice

While two weeks’ notice may seem standard, the actual amount of notice preferred will vary by employer.  “Go with the norms of the company,” Newman advises. “I am shocked at how many companies show people the door the minute they say they are leaving while others work through a transition period. Offer up the ability to stay as long as necessary for an effective transition and let the company react.”

‘It’s me, not  you’

When you have the initial “I quit” conversation with your boss or  human resources, make sure you emphasize that your decision was made based on what is best for you, not because you weren’t happy with the company. “Never make the discussion about why you are leaving about how much you hate your job or the place you work in any way,” Newman says. “Thank them for the opportunity and come up with a number of reasons about why the next job is to further develop your skills, expand your horizons, enhance your career, is more  convenient, etc.” Taking the high road, even if you disliked the job, will ensure your colleagues support your move. “Act like a jerk and that is exactly how you will be remembered forever,” Newman says.

Tie up loose ends  

Finally, when you’re on your way out, make sure that the transition is as easy as possible for those you’re leaving behind.  If someone has been hired to take your place, offer to train the person for a few days before you leave.  If not, write down important notes, locations of files, and the contact information of important people, to make the changeover easier for your successor. Finish all projects, and let your clients and vendors know about the switch to avoid any confusion.

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.

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