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.