Time to Go? 5 Things to Do If You’ve Decided to Leave Your Job

Time to Go? 5 Things to Do If You’ve Decided to Leave Your Job
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Maybe you’ve struck gold with a new employer. Maybe you’re just eager to stop working for the old one. Maybe you’re reducing or increasing your responsibilities based on commitments and priorities outside of the office. Regardless of the reason, you’re on the way out the door.


Whether you’re entering the job market or you’ve already landed a new position, much of your focus – rightly – will be on tackling new challenges. But there are some steps to take before you leave your current post. Here are five quick tips:


1. Respect the Command Chain. You’ll find many online resources telling you how to break the news to your boss. Most offer very basic advice, but it’s clear some employees need it – one of the most common questions asked on the topic via Google is “Can I tell my boss I quit via text?”


As tempting as that approach might be, better instead to follow some basic guidelines: Be respectful and appreciative of your time with your employer, outline any transition and project-handoff requirements, and keep any official correspondence (like a letter of resignation) positive and to the point. 


2. Consider the Conversation. Your particular exit path will vary based on situation. Before you announce your departure, have an idea of your response to one of many potential outcomes:

  • Are you willing to stay on beyond the traditional two-week period to complete projects or assist with onboarding?
  • How will you respond if you’re offered more money or a more flexible schedule in return for staying put?
  • If you are leaving on less-than-stellar terms, is there a chance you’ll be asked to go immediately? If so, are you financially (and mentally) prepared?


3. Get Your House in Order. Are you going to transfer any company-based pension or 401(k) funds after you leave your job? Are there outstanding issues with benefits? Are you clear on policies regarding unused leave or sick time? Any questions on these topics will be easier to answer before you’ve left – set up any necessary human resources appointments and get copies of needed documents while you’re still on the payroll.


4. The Whole House Even if you’ve accounted for the financial and benefit factors listed above, think about other documents you might want to have handy in the weeks, months, or years ahead. Do you have a full copy of your job description? What about a history of your pay raises? A glowing performance review? If your answer is “Yes, but it’s on my work server or email,” then your answer is really “No.”


[RELATED: 5 Tips to Stand Out During Unprecedented Job-Market Turnover]


5. Always Network. After your departure is made public, your coworkers may reach out. Stay positive, stay connected on LinkedIn and other platforms, and avoid unnecessary details in explaining your decision. All of us have worked with individuals we’d be happy to work with again – leave an impression that puts you on that list.


How MOAA Can Help

Unlike other career advice-givers online, MOAA’s experts specialize in assisting those who’ve worn the uniform. Our career consulting service, available to Premium and Life members, offers 1-on-1 guidance to help you take the next step on your professional journey. And our online Webinar Archive provides dozens of hours of expert advice on all manner of topics, from salary negotiation and job-hunting skills to specialized guidance for several career paths.


Interested? Visit MOAA’s Transition and Career Center for full details.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley