The day had come when I needed to call my boss at the corporate office to tell her I was quitting, and I was panicking inside. My heart was pounding, I felt nauseous, and I really didn’t want to pick up that phone. I didn’t actually have to meet her in person, so you would think that would make it easier on me, but when I get nervous, my voice starts to shake and all of my confidence goes out the window.
Somehow I managed to get through the call and was able to finish out my day as planned. I was a little nervous because in the financial industry I was in at the time, it wasn’t uncommon to be escorted out on the day that you quit, just as a general protocol. That’s how it works sometimes in the banking industry, so I tried to prepare myself for the possibility that it might be my very last day. Luckily we agreed that I should work out a three week notice, and I was more than happy to accommodate their request. It meant I was good at my job!
While it may be tempting to flip your boss the bird on your way out the door if you absolutely hate your job, not only is that very unprofessional, but you will also probably see some repercussions from leaving an employer in that way. Whether you are leaving on good terms or bad, always aim to take the high road. Here are three things to do before you quit your job.
Tie Up Loose Ends
Your first order of business should be to tie up any loose ends and finish any tasks that you have been putting off. Since I had known for weeks about my planned leave, I did everything I could to prepare myself and my colleagues for my departure. It’s never in good taste to leave any company in the lurch without you, no matter what your relationship is with them. You want to be an exceptional employee, even if you already have one foot out the door, and you want to make sure to retain a good reference after you leave.
For this reason, you should never announce that it is your last day without offering to work out a notice. Even if you know they won’t take it for whatever reason, always offer it verbally and in writing on your resignation letter. It’s the professional thing to do.
On a different note, this is also a time to decide how you want to handle benefits like 401(k) and health insurance. In the event of the 401(k) you will likely want to roll it over to your new employer or to an online broker if you are leaving the traditional workforce. The same goes for health insurance. You want to research your options. If you can get coverage under your spouse’s plan you will want to look into that, otherwise you might want to check out EHealthInsurance for coverage options.
Leave Notes for Your Replacement
The particular job that I was in was very detail oriented and required knowledge about all of the active files I was currently working on, so I did my best to complete every possible task on each file I could before I left so that no one would have to go behind me to clean up anything. I wasn’t going to leave a mess for my replacement.
I left extensive notes and a list of important document locations and correspondence so that my replacement would have an easier time with any files that were unable to be closed out before my departure. I also created a detailed document about how to do my job just in case it was needed. I wanted to leave on a clean slate, while also ensuring a smooth transition for whoever came in behind me.
Clean Out Your Emails and Desk Before Giving Your Notice
I never made it a point to send out personal emails from my business email account, but if that is a habit for you, you will want to make sure they are cleaned out before you leave. It’s not fun to think about someone reading your personal correspondence with friends, even if it is nothing scandalous.
The same goes for your desk. You should aim to have it mostly cleared out before you even offer your resignation just in case you are asked to leave the same day. It would be awkward to have to clean out your personal belongings while someone from HR is hovering over you, and it might make you forget something that you can’t get back.
The key is to make sure to leave your job in a way that leaves you smelling like a rose, even if you work with a bunch of people who are unprofessional. Take the high road. You don’t want people talking about your departure in a negative way after you leave, especially if you are staying in the same industry as it could hurt future networking opportunities. You don’t want to burn any bridges or ruin a chance of coming back in the future because you never know what will happen Be professional, be kind and gracious, and leave them sad to see you go.
Have you ever left a job in a negative manner? Did you regret it later? What would you do differently? What tips do you have for someone ready to quit their job?