There’s no denying that quitting can be really stressful. However, the way you handle it can heavily influence your professional future. The fact is that quitting mistakes can follow you throughout your career. You never know what bridges could make or break your career. Consequently, it’s best to avoid burning any of them with common quitting mistakes.
If you’re ready to walk and move on to the proverbial greener pastures, you need to be smart and strategic about it. To prevent doing permanent damage to your career, make sure you sidestep these common quitting mistakes.
Jumping the Gun
One of most common quitting mistakes people make is rushing into announcing the decision to quit without serious deliberation. Before you make any moves, think long and hard about this decision. Consider your reasons. It’s common to use quitting as a bargaining chip for more money, influence or benefits. However, it doesn’t always work and could leave you in a difficult position. Even if you receive a counteroffer, the working relationship is going to sustain serious damage. If you want a raise or promotion, talk to your boss specifically about that without bringing quitting into the conversation. On the other hand, if you are determined to leave, then you need to commit to that course of action.
Bad-Mouthing Your Employer
In general, it’s good practice to never bite the hand that feeds you. This means you shouldn’t talk down about your employer even after you’ve put the company in your rearview mirror. It’s a perfectly natural to want to bad-mouth the boss but try to resist the temptation. If it gets back to your employer, then the professional consequences could be substantial. So, whether it’s catching up with a former coworker or fielding questions from new colleagues, if your former company comes up, play any negative feelings close to the chest. Follow the principal that if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Talking down about your boss will only tarnish your reputation.
Telling Colleagues Before the Boss
Out of all the various quitting mistakes, this one has the biggest potential to make your final days at work extremely uncomfortable. Even if you’re close outside of work with your coworkers, telling them first is a blatant show of unprofessionalism and disrespect for your employer. By discussing your plans with your employers first, you set the stage to leave on good terms and give them a chance to respond thoughtfully and decide the best way to announce the news. No one likes to be blindsided, and your employer will appreciate that you came to them first.
Giving Little Notice
Generally, it’s customary to give a two-week notice. However, if you are higher up in the organization, you may want to consider giving your employer more time to review your responsibilities and find a replacement.
Use this time to wrap up any loose ends and train colleagues to perform your duties. Don’t check out mentally after giving notice. Stay committed until the time you officially leave the company. Your employer will remember your strong work ethic.
Coworkers are going to ask about your new job. There’s no problem in disclosing where you’ll be working and what you’ll be doing. However, avoid going overboard with your excitement about benefits and perks. Going this route seems like an indirect critique of how your soon-to-be former employer fails to measure up. So, be modest in how you address the subject and make sure to express gratitude for your time at the organization.
Cut and Run
Do what you can to maintain a professional relationship with your former colleagues and employers for the health of your network. Before you leave for good, email your team, boss, and the executive suite. Give a summary on how the company has helped you grow as a professional and what you valued about your time there. Save the constructive feedback for your exit interview. However, tread carefully there as well. Your answers may not be confidential and will stay in your company file long after you’re gone. Avoid sounding overly negative so that you can leave on positive terms.
Also, take time to write recommendations for colleagues and superiors. LinkedIn is a convenient forum for this.