How do I quit my job gracefully?
March 2, 2011 11:52 AM   Subscribe

How to quit a job without burning bridges?

I've generally left every company in good standing, but I'm a bit worried about leaving my current position. My problem is this

a)I'm walking a thin line between violating my non-compete. Lawyers have assured me that legally I'm not breaking it.

b)There are many people quitting right now, 3 this past week in my group alone plus me next week. Not a bad position or reflection of the company, but alot of people leaving at one time.

c)Taking bereavement leave this week which doesn't come from my PTO stash.

So how do I quit my job gracefully since me quitting will leave an even bigger hole in my group and should I ask my boss to take bereavement from my PTO stash to avoid any type of allegations of fraud? I'm not even going to mention point A, and I doubt that they will find out. The bereavement leave is for no one in my immediate family, but it is covered under the policy.

I would like to leave the door open to rehire if the new position doesn't work out.
posted by lpcxa0 to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
1. Morbid as it sounds, if you're worried about being accused of fraud for taking bereavement leave, then you should offer to provide proof. If they're going to challenge you on it, then, well, you're leaving the company. A boss claiming you faked a funeral is probably a burned bridge anyway.

2. Resign in the most professional way possible. Write a letter of resignation, state your best wishes for the company, and give ample notice, at least two weeks' if possible.

3. From experience, leaving the door open to be rehired is and never will be the call of the person who left. Focus on how well you'll do your new job, not how likely you'll be able to get your old one. Unless your ex-boss tells you it'd be waiting for you if you wanted to come back, it probably won't be.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:21 PM on March 2, 2011


All you can do is be honest and open with them. You can not control how they will react.
posted by Flood at 12:25 PM on March 2, 2011


Unless your ex-boss tells you it'd be waiting for you if you wanted to come back

From experience, don't count on that, either.
posted by jgirl at 12:25 PM on March 2, 2011


Two week's notice as given in a letter that speaks highly of your colleagues and their work even though your personal goals are now taking you elsewhere. Thank you for the opportunity to work for you, I think highly of you, etc.

A little advance notice, a little praise, some standard-issue professionalism and not being a jerk should be plenty?
posted by mhoye at 12:38 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Best answer: So how do I quit my job gracefully since me quitting will leave an even bigger hole in my group and should I ask my boss to take bereavement from my PTO stash to avoid any type of allegations of fraud?

If you're in the letter and spirit of the law and the only difference is that you'll be leaving soon then I, personally, wouldn't lose any sleep over it. This is part of your compensation package and neither you nor they should begrudge your use of it. PTO, pensions, sick days, etc, are all part of how you are compensated for doing your job. Places that play games or hold grudges against you for holding them to their end of the bargain are not doing either of you any favors.

I would like to leave the door open to rehire if the new position doesn't work out.

Like jgirl, I don't have a lot of hope for that sort of thing. Personally I'd go way out of my way not to re-hire someone who'd left a position. With few exceptions they've done it because they weren't happy with being in that position to some extent or the other. In few cases will that be different at a later date and there's a lot of fish in the sea. It's a reasonable question when someone gets back together with a former significant other and it's a reasonable question with a job: why will this be different this time?

The best way to leave a job is to be polite, professional and respectful and give your employer every opportunity to behave the same way. If you have some sign they won't behave that way then maybe it's in your interest to do some things slightly differently to smooth the way - no different than how you might phrase something differently when talking to a friend because of what you know about their typical reactions or old grudges. But in the end the best thing you do for everyone is to be matter-of-fact and be honest, no more or less.
posted by phearlez at 12:38 PM on March 2, 2011


Two week's notice as given in a letter that speaks highly of your colleagues and their work even though your personal goals are now taking you elsewhere.

If you are going to write such a letter, for the love of mike run it by your lawyers first. The wrong phrasing can burn you on the non-compete. (I've personally heard of this being raised as a first salvo when the company didn't have a leg to stand on, but you don't even want to be in the position of saying "what's wrong with you nutbars and your nutbar legal department anyway?")
posted by endless_forms at 1:02 PM on March 2, 2011


Actually, I should've been more specific.

Do not count on your boss saying the door would be open.

Moreover, even IF he does say the door would be open or indeed that he would rehire you, don't count on him actually rehiring you. That's happened to me after being told that I would be taken back (not merely considered) if I chose.
posted by jgirl at 1:15 PM on March 2, 2011


Be professional about your resignation. Don't use it as an opportunity to settle grudges, and even if you have a formal exit interview, be diplomatic and gracious. And brief. The less you say, the better. Focus on the fact that you're moving on for personal career development reasons, and thank your current organisation / boss for the opportunities they provided and say that you enjoyed working there.

Acknowledge that you're leaving at a bad time, and make sure your boss knows that you feel bad about that. Give as much notice as you can, work hard up to your last day, and put together a good handover package (especially if others in your team are also leaving, the loss of knowledge will be a real problem for your company) - those things will be remembered.

And stay in touch with key people - either personally or via linkedin (or something like that).

I think you have to work on the assumption that they will fill your post so you are unlikely to be able to get your old post back if the new one doesn't work out. But you never know what might come up in the future.

On the bereavement leave thing, I don't think it's going to be an issue unless they think it's not legitimate - the timing may be a bit off but these things happen. So being able to provide proof if you're challenged could be useful. I wouldn't offer taking it out of your PTO.

Good luck in your new role!
posted by finding.perdita at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2011


When anyone in the future asks about your old employer, speak only well of them. It can be tempting to share dirt after you're gone, but it reflects badly on you, and might get back to your old co-workers.

(I might make an exception if a friend were considering taking a job there, and wanted an honest opinion of how it was on the inside... but I'd still stick to polite, constructive criticism rather than bad-mouthing.)
posted by mbrubeck at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2011


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