How to Exit a Company Gracefully and Not Burn Bridges

How to Exit a Company Gracefully and Not Burn Bridges

By: Erin Venable | July 06, 2017

When you finally decide to leave a job, it can be difficult to figure out what to do next. Leaving your workplace for any reason is a significant decision, so make sure you handle the exit the right way. The way you leave a job could haunt your career for years to come or cause future complications. Our guide on how to have last day professionalism and not burn bridges when exiting a company gracefully can help.

Talk to Your Boss and Coworkers

One of the most important parts of your exit is how you present your resignation to your manager and teammates. Recommendations go far in today’s business world and having connections can also help further your career. Make sure that you inform your boss and coworkers about this situation with care. Choose your words wisely and stick to the positives more than the negatives. Using an actual letter of resignation is always a good idea. Avoid excessive emotions. You don’t need to tell everyone the detail of your situation, that is your choice. But make sure to stay professional as you inform your fellow employees of the change to have the most graceful exit possible.

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Be Polite, Respectful, and Considerate

The way you leave your job matters. Stay professional right up until your last day. Speak to others in a polite and respectful way. It can feel tempting to express any negative thoughts you have been holding in, but resist. Instead, be considerate of the others in your office. How would you feel if someone else was leaving and acted poorly? Any temporary relief you may feel at voicing your concerns will be overshadowed once time has passed. Whatever your reasons for leaving, if you want to leave a good impression on your company and have a positive legacy, interact with others in a professional way even as you leave.

When you exit your job the right way, you will create references and connections that could help your career in the future.

Stay Flexible with Time

While you may not control your resignation schedule, try to be as flexible as possible with your timing. If you team is in the middle of a project, stay to help them finish. If you are in the busy season for your company, help them out as long as you can. While you may be moving on from this workplace, your former coworkers will appreciate your flexibility. In the long run, it will feel better to leave the company when the timing is right rather than a rush. You may not want to tell your company that you will be leaving in a few months, but the usual two weeks notice is sometimes not quite enough time to wrap things up properly. Be honest with your company about your timeline and work with them to leave your organization in the best place after you leave.

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Get Informed

When you are leaving a company, it may be overwhelming to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Discuss your resignation with Human Resources to make sure you are following any existing exit policies or procedures. They may even have their own advice for you about the right way to leave the company. Make sure you gather any contact information for your co workers to keep those connections going strong once you have left. Copy any of your files or work that you want, as long as your company allows you to do so. The more informed you are about your company’s resignation policies, the easier it will be for you to leave the right way.

Support Your Company

One of the best things you can do when quitting is offer to help the company out before you leave. You may be tempted to be lazy and not try at your job once you are leaving, but resist the urge! Leave the company better for having hired you, no matter what your experience was with them. Record any of your unique processes for whoever takes over your job. Ask your manager or teammates if you can help them in any way. Train your replacement if they are brought in before you leave. Any action you take that helps your boss or coworkers will leave them with a more favorable opinion of you, despite your resignation. Those connections and references may help your career in the future, so work hard right up until your exit.

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Express Gratitude and Be Positive

Everyone deals with negative teammates or difficult managers. With your decision to leave your job, it is tempting to air out any existing grievances you may have. Negativity won’t help you or your career. Reflect on your time at the organization and recall your positive experiences. Thank anyone you worked with who helped you. Chances are you made some positive connections at your company, make sure they know that you appreciated them. By thanking those you worked with, they will feel more positive about your exit. Every experience you have had at this job was a learning opportunity and you are better for it. By showing your coworkers and boss that you appreciated them, you will leave the door open to positive interactions in the future.

The way you leave a company can leave a strong impression. If you leave in a cloud of negativity and emotions, that could be the way you are remembered at the organization. Keep your company and coworkers in mind, be professional, and work hard right up until your last day. When you treat your organization and teammates the right way at your exit, you will create references and connections that could help your career in the future. If you want to leave behind a positive legacy, follow our guide.

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