It’s normal to quit a job and move on to something new or better. However, burning bridges when you quit your job could harm your reputation and cause problems in your future. Rather than leaving on a negative note, you can quit without burning bridges by following these ten tips.

People leave their jobs because they are burned out, reassessing their careers, don’t like their boss, or want to get paid more. Whatever the reason for leaving your job, you’ll want to do it right so that you don’t leave on bad terms. Later on, you might need a reference or job to fall back to, and you’ll always want previous employers to speak highly of you.

You never know who your boss knows, so a negative reputation can severely impact your future career options. If you plan on staying in the same industry, you’re even more likely to run into people you used to know. You never want to put yourself in a position where your professional reputation is questioned or put on the line.

Quitting your job can be hard because it is complicated and uncomfortable. No matter why you’re choosing to leave, you want to think long-term and avoid leaving negative feelings behind. Luckily, there are ten steps you can follow in quitting a job without burning bridges.

Before You Even Think About Burning Bridges, Consider These Things…

Before making your life-altering decision, consider these things.

burning bridges

Think About What You Want

If you like your job but want a higher salary or better benefits, you might be able to negotiate it. Likewise, if you want a more flexible work schedule, consider talking to your boss about it. If you like your current job, it’s worth asking for what you want or need.

Plan Ahead

Consider your long-term goals before you quit your job. Determine where you want to end up and ensure you find a job that leads you on the right path. Don’t take the first job that comes along because you’ll end up right back where you are right now.

Choose a job that will bring you joy and help you reach your long-term goals. Do this before you quit your current job so that you have something beneficial lined up already.

Remember That You Set the Tone

Some of your coworkers will try to figure out why you’re leaving the company. They might not take your answer at face value and try to find clues to something more sinister. If you can remember that you set the tone in this situation, it’ll help you leave without burning bridges.

Before you even tell your manager that you’re quitting, make sure you go to work with a positive attitude. Don’t let on that anything is wrong or it can cause conflict and rumors at the end of your employment.

How to Quit a Job Without Burning Bridges

Now that you are sure it’s time to make a career move, be sure to stay calm and professional.

1. Determine the Best Time

When it comes to quitting without causing long-term issues, timing is everything. You don’t want to quit your job in the middle of a major project or assignment, and you don’t want to do it when you have lots of uncompleted tasks. If you quit in the middle of these tasks, it could lead to burning bridges.

When deciding on the best timing, the ethical thing to do is to think about your boss. You don’t want to leave them in a bind if you can help it, and you don’t want to leave anything hanging.

2. Give Enough Notice So You’re Not Burning Bridges

Giving enough notice ensures that your old company is left hanging. While you might be eager to start your new position, you’ll want to be honest and tell them that you need at least two weeks. Your new employer will admire your professionalism, even if they are disappointed that you can’t start immediately.

You will want to give at least two weeks’ notice, but more is sometimes necessary. Giving notice gives your employer time to look for a replacement and prepare for your leave. You’ll want to be flexible and work longer than the two weeks if necessary.

When determining how much notice you should give, consider the importance of your position. If you are higher up in the organization or have been there a long time, you’ll want to figure out how much time you need to extricate yourself.

3. Tell Your Boss First

Your boss should know that you are quitting before anyone else in the company hears about it. Likewise, they should hear it from you in person before they receive a resignation letter in their email. Set up a meeting early in the day to talk to your boss about your decision.

Setting it up early in the day gives your boss a chance to think about your leave before they head home for the day. You don’t want them sitting at home thinking about a resignation you gave minutes before the end of their day.

Once you tell your boss, ask them when and how to tell the other employees. Your boss might want to do it themselves, or they might tell you that it’s fine for people to know right away. Talking to your boss first and asking for their input on telling others shows how thoughtful and professional you are.

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4. Write a Resignation Letter

You should have your resignation letter written before telling your boss, but wait to turn it in until afterward. It’s always best to tell your supervisor in person, but you still must put it in writing. In your letter, include when you would like your last day to be and express gratitude for the opportunity.

Be sure to mention that your experience with the company will guide you moving forward. The company will like to know that they had a beneficial impact on your life, and it’ll leave them with good feelings.

5. Stay Professional and Polite (Rude Behavior Is a Common Way of Burning Bridges)

One of the best ways to be professional when you quit a job is by making it clear that you enjoyed your time. Even if you didn’t love everything about your job, now isn’t the time to list every bad experience you had. Instead, tell them that you’ll miss working with them but that you can’t pass up this great opportunity.

While you don’t have to explain, giving some reason is polite. If the truth about why you’re leaving isn’t a pleasant one, use another answer instead. You can say that you were offered something perfect for you or that you want to take time to reprioritize your wellbeing.

6. Think About How You Want to Tell Your Coworkers

Once your boss knows you’ve turned in your resignation letter, you must tell your coworkers. As mentioned before, it’s best to ask your boss if they want to approach it in a specific way.

If your boss doesn’t want to control that conversation, then you’re free to speak to your coworkers about it. Think about how you will tell them before you begin so that you don’t say something you’ll regret.

7. Leave a Good Impression

When you’re quitting a job, you might be low on motivation and ready to go. However, work your hardest until the very end so that you leave a good impression. Another part of leaving a good impression is tying up any loose ends and attending meetings

Additionally, make sure you leave your desk clean and tidy. Remove all of your items and wipe everything down so that it’s ready for the next person. Leaving a good impression can help you avoid developing a negative reputation.

8. Trash Talk the Company Is a Sure Way of Burning Bridges

You won’t love every job you have, and you might not get along with all of your coworkers. If this is the case for you, it is still essential that you don’t talk badly about the company or the people who work there.

Stay ethical, and remember that karma will catch up with you if you can’t say kind things. Remember, you’re leaving anyway, so there’s no point in burning bridges by saying bad things as you leave.

9. Offer to Help Find and Train Your Replacement

If you’ve been at your company for a while, your boss might need you to detail your job description. They might not remember each task you are responsible for, let alone how to do it. By giving them these details, it’ll help them find a good replacement for you.

Additionally, offer to help with the transition by sticking around long enough to train the new employee. It’s a little more work for you, but it’s a professional way to end things with your current employer.

10. Stay in Touch with Your Old Boss and Coworkers

Even if you aren’t friends with your old boss and coworkers, staying in touch is still a good idea. The more contacts you have, the better off you’ll be in the long run. You never know when you will have to encounter them, so it’s best to prevent awkwardness and ill feelings.

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Final Thoughts on How to Quit a Job Without Burning Bridges

Quitting a job isn’t easy, but you can do it without burning bridges. You never know when you will have to encounter your old boss or coworkers, so it’s best to ensure things end on a good note. You never know what the universe has ahead–so keep that door open just a little.

Stay professional and polite, and ensure you finish any ongoing work before leaving. By following these ten steps, you can leave a good impression as you move on to your future endeavors.