The Right Way To Say Goodbye To Your Job

When it comes to departures, a business relationship is not unlike most relationships—breaking up is hard to do. Good or bad, your experiences helped you become the professional you are today. While leaving your role may be difficult, it is a necessary act that requires as much thought and consideration as it took to apply for the job. And if the end of your role is navigated successfully, it will lay the groundwork for a positive beginning elsewhere.

the right way to leave your job

Manage Your Feelings On And Off The Record

Too often, a psychological component is overlooked somewhere between the two-week notice and a formal farewell. Before you give notice, take this opportunity to think about the breadth and depth of your tenure. This moment of reflection and celebration will help you manage your emotions as you prepare to leave. Set aside an hour to write a list of your experiences—learn from your lows and celebrate your highs. Take mindful breaths and write with purpose. After you finish drafting the list, leverage that positive energy as you compose thoughtful emails to colleagues and supervisors who influenced you. Your professionalism and thoughtfulness will earn respect from your peers. And your commendable composure will go a long way when it’s time to request letters of recommendation. Remember to keep the tone consistent in your public and personal life. From happy hours to interviews and every social media handle in between, people pay attention to how you speak about your previous employer. Be aware of what you say online and in person. Even if a clever comment makes your social media followers list grow, remarks about your old job will also follow you wherever you go.

Keep The Door Open On Your Way Out

It is in our nature as humans to build tribes. Whether we like to admit it or not, we spend more time with our colleagues than we do at home with our families. During that time, you establish a collegial relationship that bears all the marks of family without being family. You’ve grown with them professionally, you’ve learned from them, and you’ve established a bond through successes and failures. When you depart from your job, make a conscious effort not to burn bridges or discontinue contact. Your network is not a follower count—it is living and breathing. Stay engaged in your industry and continue to foster professional relationships online and offline with your peers. If your former colleagues reach out in the form of a LinkedIn connection request or a friendly coffee invite, do your best to respond. Keep the channel of communication open.

You Do Have A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

We all strive to impress people upon first hello, but not many of us think of the impression we leave when we say “goodbye.” No matter what circumstances led to your departure, you have control over how you carry yourself as you take steps toward the next chapter in your life. Kurt Vonnegut said it best, “It's the emptiest and yet the fullest of all human messages: 'Good-bye.’” Remember the good. Saying goodbye is only difficult because the experience was meaningful to you. Hold on to that meaning and focus on the opportunities that will come as a result of having that experience. Because you said goodbye to your past, you are able to give a full-throated hello to your future. When you do decide to say the words, say each syllable with intentionality. That is the only way to a have a good bye.

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