5 Rules for Quitting Your Job


Q.  I have accepted a good job at a competing agency and now have to tell my boss who has been very good to me that I am leaving.  I could use some advice since this is a first for me.  -MF

A.  You are wise to want to think through the process of quitting your job.  I recall quitting my first job in a less than graceful way, and I still regret how I departed.  From that experience, I developed five rules for quitting a job: 

Rule #1:  Organize your thoughts.  Rehearse your opening.  Write a short, non-emotional resignation letter.  Stick to the facts, don’t vent on any issues that may have contributed to your departure.

Rule #2:  Keep your head in the game.  Don’t slack off on your responsibilities; work hard right up until the end. 

Rule #3:  Pick the right time, usually morning.  Avoid late in the day since your boss needs to inform others and you want him/her to have time to properly communicate your decision.  Be prepared to be asked to leave immediately, especially if you will be working on projects that compete with your current agency or its clients. 

Rule #4:  Anticipate a counter offer.  Unless there has been friction between you and your boss or business is slow, you might be asked what it will take to get you to stay.  Know what you will say if they match or top everything offered in your new job.  But never use the threat to leave as a lever to get more from your current employer; they very often will call your bluff and you might end up in a job you dread. 

Rule #5:  Don’t Burn Bridges.  Never say anything that you may regret later in their careers.  Say goodbye to everyone possible, while not saying anything negative.  A positive attitude will gain you much respect and a future positive reference should you need one later in your career.   

4 thoughts on “5 Rules for Quitting Your Job

  1. Hey – great post. I actually have a question for you, as I just quit my first job in PR to move to another agency. I gave two weeks notice, as I am not a manager, but my manager is really pushing on me to stay on past the two weeks. When I mentioned that two weeks is standard, she said “not in PR – you never leave a PR job with less than a month’s notice.” Is this true?? I really don’t want to burn bridges, but I also don’t want to be bullied into staying on any longer.

  2. CK: Two weeks notice is standard for most agencies. If you’re involved in a major project, it’s not unusual to be asked to stay longer. But that’s your choice, not theirs. Good luck in the new gig.

  3. Hi again. Thanks for answering my question. I’m involved on several accounts, but they are on-going – no special projects involved, just regular PR work. I appreciate your insight and help – I’ll definitely not let myself get pushed around!

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