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Leaving a Job on Good Terms

Savvy Community: How Do I Quit This Job Without Burning Bridges?

The politics of leaving one job for another is never easy. Reader akosijen posed this question in our Savvy Q and A group.

I was just recently offered a job for a big company, and offering a great opportunity. I've been with my current company (very small and privately owned) for almost 4 years, and it's the first company I've worked for since I got out of college. Luckily, the office is busy working on one project, but once that gets done (another month or so), we're going to slow down again. What's the best way to let them know that I've gotten another offer and put my two weeks in? I know it's never a good time for any small company to lose someone, but I've been waiting for this opportunity for awhile.

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komler komler 5 years
My procedure when I changed jobs earlier this year. I changed from a company that I'd been with on and off as an extra hand during my schooling, and where I, when this happened, was employed on a temporary basis, subbing for another employee. It's entirely possible I'll go back to working at this company, which is why it was important for me to end on good terms. I had been told that my temporary gig could possibly be expanded into something permanent, but this did not happen until after I'd started applying for new jobs, and been to an interview. What I did when I received the job offer was to let the head of the organization, as well as my dept. manager know. I mentioned how much I'd loved working there, but that I'd received a job offer for a permanent job. This happened about 9 months into my 1 year temping gig. I did not give them my notice straight away, as I just wanted to let them know about it as a courtesy so they could start planning for alternatives. Unlike most places here, where you have a three month notice, I only had a month, so I really wanted to let them know in advance so that they had a bit of extra time. When I had a set starting date, I sent in my formal resignation. And then I spent that final month of work making sure I'd written down everything essential that I'd done, and a calendar of things that might come around next year for the next person in the job. All the sort of things that I wished I'd had when I started in the job, just in case it was not the same person I was temping for who returned to it.
jelibeann jelibeann 5 years
It can be a tough situation, but most good bosses (and even some crappy ones) generally want the best for employees they value - my crazy ex-boss always said that a manager is only as good as the employees they supervise, so the fact that you've been offered a better opportunity should make them proud. And, as runningesq says, no one is irreplaceable, as much as we might think we are. It's a "seller's market," right now, so they will probably have their fair share of resumes once they post the opening. Leaving your successor with a great map of the position you've held will be the best thing you can do for everyone and will make sure you stay in the good graces of your boss and the company.
itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 5 years
i already have such guilt about leaving my current position and i'm at least a year away from doing so! i'm looking forward to hearing how this goes for akosijen.
runningesq runningesq 5 years
I doubt (unless they are quite unprofessional) your old employers will take it personally! Skigirl has good advice: thank them for the opportunities and just let them know you've found something that will allow you to grow more in your field. Remember -- no one is irreplaceable ;)
LilaD LilaD 5 years
I'm so glad this is a question because I am in the same situation. Skigurl has great advice. I think the best thing is to remain professional and thankful for the opportunity, but not apologize for taking care of yourself. Don't allow anyone to make you feel guilty for doing what you have decided is needed in your career.
skigurl skigurl 5 years
I think Savvy should weigh in on this and give you the professional advice you need, but really, I would write a professional letter of resignation, as you probably have to, and then I would go into the boss's (or supervisor's) office, say you need to talk to them about something, and just preface it with "I hate to be doing this, I have loved working here, you have given me a great opportunity, and I hope you understand that as my career progresses, I am looking for other opportunities to expand" and then leave the door open. Say you hope you can keep in touch, and it's nothing personal, and just be genuine. Hopefully they won't begrudge your new position, and if they do, they are not very professional.
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