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VOL. 129 | NO. 125 | Friday, June 27, 2014

Angela Copeland

Exiting Your Job Gracefully

By Angela Copeland

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There’s a lot to be said for grace. Although many interpretations of the word exist, my favorite is Merriam-Webster’s. They define it as “a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving.” After a number of questions from people about how to quit their jobs, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

First, keep the fact that you are interviewing private. Your boss doesn’t need to know. Neither does your co-worker, or favorite employee. Rarely does sharing this information lead to positive results. In the worst case, the employee may be asked to pack up and leave immediately. Some employers view a job search as disloyal to the company, so keep yours quiet.

When you do land your dream job, be sensitive to those around you. Speak to your boss in person when you give the news. Pick a peaceful time of the day when you can approach him or her and have the conversation one-on-one in their office.

Be prepared to negotiate your end date. At a minimum, you should give two weeks of notice. Even if your job hasn’t been great, you owe it to yourself and your employer to provide this much. In many cases, your boss will ask for more time. Whether you choose to stay longer or not, carefully select your answer. Afterward, document your discussion in an email to your manager to confirm the details.

Discuss with your boss how you’ll share the big news. Most likely, you will want to tell those close to you one-on-one before a mass e-mail is distributed.

Just before leaving, many employees are given the option to complete an exit interview. This is an opportunity to give feedback on the organization, the management, and co-workers.

If you’ve been considering whether or not to leave a scathing review during your exit interview, I would encourage you to weigh your decision carefully. Think about the reasons you want to give this feedback. Will you be sharing information that the company is not already aware of? How will the information be used? Will changes be made based upon your feedback?

In many cases, the company is already aware of issues and has chosen not to pursue changes for various reasons. If this is the case, you may be putting yourself in a situation with little to gain, but much to lose.

Remember, in the future you will need a recommendation from your current company. It may come years down the road when you’re interviewing again and need a reference at a past employer. If you’ve provided too much negative feedback, your boss may be reluctant to help you, even if you did stellar work.

If you feel your feedback is new and will impact change, by all means share it. But, if you’re just looking to vent your frustration, call a friend. And, don’t feel the need to provide artificial feedback in an exit interview. Gracefully decline to participate as you politely move on to your new opportunity.

Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).

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