You’ve been thinking about quitting your job for weeks. Months, even. You’ve even made a complete pros and cons list with absolutely anything that you could come up with. And you’ve finally made a decision – it’s time to call it quits.
Leaving a job – willingly – can be one of the most liberating feelings ever. But just because you’ve handed in your resignation, it doesn’t mean that you can check out entirely. If anything, you should be on your best behaviour during your final weeks because that’s going to be the last impression you leave behind.
So what do you need to do before quitting your job? Here are five things to add to your checklist!
1. Make a Plan
Not everyone has a job lined up when they’re quitting their job and that’s completely fine. But you should absolutely have a plan! . Having a plan will help guide your next steps in your professional goals and also hold you accountable. Without a plan, you can easily end up in the same position, just at a different organization. And what’s the point of quitting your current job just to go through it all over again somewhere else?
The first step is to be introspective. Ask yourself where you want to eventually end up and identify the milestones you’ll have to reach along the way. Having a plan will make your next career move much easier.
2. Figure out your Finances
Fact: if you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck, then you should definitely hold off on quitting your job until you’ve got a decent amount of savings to sustain your lifestyle through a period of unemployment.
If you’ve been diligent with your savings (yay!), then your top priority right now is to work out a budget to cut down on any unnecessary spending while taking your fixed expenses into account.
Take a look at your current financial situation and be realistic. Can you afford to go through a potentially lengthy period of unemployment?
You might land something within the first week of leaving your job, or it might take several months. That said, always prepare yourself for the worst case scenario which is not having a steady stream of income rolling in for an extended period of time. Already have a job lined up? Even better. This is a great opportunity for you to take a fresh perspective on your finances if your pay is going to change coming into a new role.
3. Leave on Good Terms
Whatever your reason for leaving – even if something terrible happened – resist the urge to tell everyone what’s really on your mind. Keep it professional at all times. Avoid the “it doesn’t matter because I’m leaving anyways” mentality.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with the company or the X amount of long hours you’ve consistently put in over the years. It’s your performance during these final days that will be the very last impression they have of you, so make it a good one!
Most importantly, don’t say anything negative about your job or your coworkers. Instead, let your boss and your coworkers know how much you appreciate the support that they’ve given you in the time that you worked together. Some organizations have an exit interview, which would be the opportunity where you give constructive feedback about your work experience. This isn’t necessarily a place to vent out your frustrations, but it does give you an outlet to honestly (and respectfully) provide feedback that could possibly make a difference to other employees who work for the company in the future.
4. Reinforce Connections
Reminder: just because you’re leaving an organization, it doesn’t mean that you’re cutting off the connections that you’ve already built during your time there. If anything, this is the best time to reinforce those connections online and in real life. If there’s anyone you still haven’t connected with over on LinkedIn (and you’d like to), do it now.
The easiest way to reinforce the connections you’ve already established in real life is to express gratitude towards your boss and your colleagues for the active role they played in your life during your time with the organization.
5. Make the Transition Easier for your Organization
Forget about waltzing into work late, taking longer lunches, or leaving work early. This is not the time to slack! If anything, you should work even harder in those final weeks leading up to your last day just to help your organization cope with the transition. They’ll appreciate it.
Take a look at what’s still on your plate. Figure out which projects you’ll be able to complete and which tasks will still be ‘in progress’ by the time you leave.
Communication is key. Have an open conversation with your boss about your departure to figure out how they want you to split the rest of your time. Before you leave, make sure everyone knows where you stand with all your tasks and assignments, and that they have all the information they might need to finish things up! If you need to pass on your knowledge to someone, make sure to take the initiative and train your colleagues. You’ll leave a long-lasting pleasant impression.
It’s an egg-citing new chapter for you, but don’t forget those who helped you get to this stage in your life. If you take your time to leave your workspace as clean as you found it, both literally and figuratively, this will only add you some karma points. Good luck!