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How To Quit Your Job

18/04/2016 9:45 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Have you heard about the reporter for a local news station in Alaska who announced on live TV "F**k this, I quit"? After declaring her intention to work for a medical marijuana company, she proceeded to walk off set. How about the guy who hired a marching band to draw attention to his imminent departure from the business? Examples of people who have quit their job on social media, via text message and by other theatrical means are common topics of conversation among our team.

While these stories may be amusing to contemplate, the risks and pitfalls of taking a dramatic approach to resigning shouldn't be underestimated. As tempting as it may be to deliver a big 'up yours' statement on the way out the door, think carefully before you do. Before doing anything drastic, consider what outcomes you want to achieve and whether your actions are likely to help you to achieve them.

Resigning well will allow you to maintain professional credibility and relationships. These eight tips can help you move on with grace:

Understand consequences

While you may successfully let off steam, if your aim is to harm the reputation, success or standing of your employer, think carefully about how your actions may come back to haunt you. Behaving disrespectfully is likely to earn you a few enemies along the way. Understand how that could impact your career down the track. As they say, it's a small world, and your paths may cross again.

Never burn bridges

Your networks will be important long after you've resigned from a particular position. Regardless of how determined you are to never cross paths with someone again, chances are you will. Imagine for a moment the first day of work in a new job and the senior manager you haven't met yet is the guy whose reputation you took a blowtorch to years ago. Even if you don't end up working together again, you can never be sure if one day you'll need the help of the people you're dying to tell where to go.

Be discreet

Understand that attempts to publicly disgrace an employer may not be viewed either positively or empathetically by others. People both inside and outside your organisation may not respond favourably to public airing of 'dirty laundry'. If you have constructive feedback to provide, deliver it to the most appropriate person and afford them the opportunity to consider and respond to your concerns privately.

Be considered

While in serious cases, public exposure of issues may result in more appropriate focus and action, there is unquestionably risk involved in doing so. Before making a public complaint, carefully consider both the benefits and risks of the actions you are intending to take. At times, for example, you may feel morally obligated to take action. Take considered steps that will allow you to bring awareness to your concerns while achieving a positive outcome.

Be deliberate

Start by reflecting on what is motivating you. Are you looking to inflict revenge or force Karma's hand? Do you want to insult, inform or educate people about your grievances or ideas for improvement? Or are you driven by the desire to make a positive difference -- for example, by improving the work conditions for the colleagues you are leaving behind? Recognise and take the deliberate actions you need to take.

Keep calm

'Losing it' emotionally can damage your credibility and reduce the likelihood of people taking you seriously. Some people may even feel the need to defend those they perceive to be under unreasonable attack from you. Don't underestimate the potential for people to feel sorry for your boss if they perceive them as having to endure working with an emotionally challenged 'poor me' person.

Be constructive

At the end of the day, the influence you have is most heavily impacted by your ability to assure people of your reasonableness and the merit of your feedback. A professionally written letter or delivered conversation that is honest yet constructive, critical and yet fair, confronting yet respectful, is far more likely to be taken seriously and make a positive difference.

Provide notice

Unless otherwise required, ensure you provide the notice agreed through the terms and conditions of your employment. While your employer may choose to allow you to leave sooner, offer to work with them to smoothly transition your responsibilities to other members of the team. Demonstrate commitment throughout this period by continuing to deliver your duties to the highest possible standard.

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