3 Things To Do Before You Quit Your Job

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure page for more info.

39982a21I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been planning on quitting my job for weeks, but rather than being calm and collected about it, my nerves were a knot in my stomach.

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?


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed.


  1. I’ve always worked on the premise that you should leave your job in a positive light. After all, you never know who you’re going to run into down the road. There’s simply no need to burn any bridges. Even if you are unhappy and your boss is a total jerk, you should definitely do the things you listed simply because that’s your work ethic and for the personal satisfaction that you’d get. Even if you’re the only one pleased, that should be reason enough.
    Money Beagle recently posted…7 Ways To Improve Your Credit ScoreMy Profile

    • Completely agreed MB. We’ve all been in those situations where you’re not happy or your boss is a jerk. Everything in you wants to go down in flames, but it’s simply not worth it. Not only is it not professional but you never know if and how that will come back to bite you in the butt down the road.
      John recently posted…I’ve Got A Secret For You!My Profile

  2. Robin, these are essentials before quitting a job. My advise is to get ready those documents such as clearance and certificate of employment prior to your last day so that you wouldn’t have to go back and forth to the company and it would be less hassle especially if you are newly employed. Sometimes, it would be a bit hard to get access once you surrender your ID.
    Jayson recently posted…Dump, Sell or KeepMy Profile

  3. I left my last job back in March and i have to agree with all of these points. I ended up putting in 12-16 hour days the last 2 weeks I worked to make sure I left on the top note possible. I tied up every loose end possible. I transitioned over my contacts to the person who would manage my role as the company filled my spot, and I helped everyone and anyone that needed something from me before I left.

    Along the lines of the business computer, if you use your personal logins on sites you should make sure to logout of all of those websites, or even better, delete all history and cookies, after verifying it with your IT or Compliance department.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

CommentLuv badge