5 point plan for quitting a job when they don’t want to let you go

Updated Feb 26 2018
Guest post by S M Prescott
5 point plan for quitting a job when they don’t want to let you go
Too Legit to Quit Card from PRETTYBYHER

I love the people I work with. I am so incredibly lucky to say those words. I’ve worked with people in the past who have made my blood boil with suppressed rage and people who have made me cry. So I know how lucky I am to look around at my colleagues and realize that I genuinely love hanging out with this awesome group of people on a daily basis.

But… my love for these people is keeping me in a job that I am starting to hate. When I joined this company, I was 18, at the beginning of my degree, in a new relationship that was going very well, and just starting to figure out who the hell I was and what I was meant to be doing. At this point, I’m a graduate, married (it went VERY well) with a cat and the hope of maybe, somehow buying a house and just starting to figure out the hell I am and what I’m meant to be doing.

My job is standing in the way of that, and I need to get over my fear of moving on. It’s been several wonderful years, and now I have to steel myself, grit my teeth, and walk away, so I can work on my own goals of development.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

With that in mind, here's my five point plan to quitting my job when they don’t want to let me go.

Give plenty of notice

I intend on giving my employer more notice than contractually obligated. I don’t want to leave these people in the lurch. I want to ensure that any transitional time is smooth and easy for the company and for my colleagues. This will ease the substantial amount of guilt that will follow giving notice.

Train my replacement without bitterness

It can be easy to tell the “new kid” about all of the crappy sides of the job — the hours and the stress and the responsibility. Instead I’m going to be honest, but make sure I include all of the hours of laughter, of Nerf gun battles and creativity and learning.

Use my notice time productively

It can be so tempting to sit on a ticking clock. But just waiting to get out of here is not a useful attitude. There is still more to learn in my job — I discover that every day. I can use this time to attain new skills which will help me move forward. I don’t intend on letting up on my work rate just because it won’t affect me afterwards; it will affect the people I care about, and it will affect the feelings I leave with.

Keep it quiet

Shouting from the rooftops that you’re leaving is a good way to inspire panic and potentially more resignations. I'll make the announcement on a need-to-know basis to start with. I don’t want people to misunderstand my intentions, and a resignation can be easily interpreted in a negative way.

Keep the door open

I would be an idiot to close the door on any positive working relationship. We never know what comes next in life, and if I find myself back in the same city, facing unemployment, then leaving the door open could be very helpful indeed. So I will make myself available for phone calls when I do leave, I will answer questions and offer advice when solicited. I will tell them to call me when they are stuck or worried, and I will try to help.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here, starting my next adventure with slightly shaky hands but with the knowledge that the people I’ll be leaving behind will (hopefully) be cheering me on.

  1. I had such a negative experience quitting one of my college jobs. Everyone told me it would be totally fine; people quit jobs every day! My boss guilted me into staying an extra six months after I gave my notice. This would have been a very helpful guide to have during that time!!

  2. I completely, utterly disagree about keeping it quiet. This is based on experience of both people leaving (both people I closely work with but especially those I don't all that often), as well as my own experience quitting. Talk to your boss, get it straightened out with them, maybe tell your team in a meeting or something, but then send an email out to anyone and everyone you have or might have worked with, and let them know that you plan to leave, when you plan to leave, and why (something nice, especially in your case), and that you will be training a replacement, blah blah blah. This will prevent panic when someone is sent to you because you're the expert but you're no longer going to be the expert! Then who do they go to?? It prevents rumors and uncertainty. It makes your boss realize that you meant what you told him/her, and that you aren't trying to sneak away. And in general it's nice to tell people yourself instead of people hearing it through the grapevine (or worse, failing to hear it until after you're gone). Anyway, this is just my experience, but I have had a lot of these experiences now, and while the rest of your advice can be fine (personally not sure about giving a ton of notice, but that entirely depends on who you're working for), I would not ever recommend trying to keep your resignation hush-hush.

  3. I'm not an expert, but I would add, "Don't post your intention to quit online." Never trust that something you put online, even using a pseudonym, won't get back to your employer, and it really sucks when they hear about your plans to quit from someone other than you.

  4. Seems a bit overly complicated, or maybe I'm just a different personality than you 🙂 I just resign when a job is sucking me dry, and I have no guilt about it. My philosophy is you do a good day's work for a good day's pay and that is basically all that you owe a company. And, yes, I leave on good terms and with all my work done, but…I leave 🙂

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