Let’s all begin accepting the fact that quitting your job isn’t very shocking anymore, shall we? Whereas many parents and grandparents of a certain generation would simply be scandalized at the idea of not staying with a company for the rest of your life, we know different. More often than not, forcing ourselves to “hang on” to an organization for as long as possible can be akin to career suicide.
Whether this is because few businesses are expected to survive decades these days or because businesses no longer put a premium on hard work and loyalty doesn’t matter. Job security isn’t connected to companies anymore — you can only secure your income by managing your own occupation. And that means moving on once you recognize that the organization you’re working for can no longer help you reach your personal goals.
The process is by no means easy. But it can be manageable if you do the following:
Get In the Right Mindset
You may have come to realize that it’s time for you to take on other opportunities, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a scary prospect. After all, you’ve already dedicated part of your life to the company you’re about to leave. Can you really go elsewhere and be just as effective? Is there any place that will appreciate your strengths as a professional?
You need to get over that fear; and in order to do that, you need to have a solid plan for when you’ve actually left the company.
Plan to Succeed
The fact that you know you need to leave the company means you have an inkling with regards to which direction you want to go with your career. Using that as a jumping off point, you can start fleshing out ideas for where you can go next.
If you want to keep working for companies, then you’ll probably want to look for organizations in the line of business you want to focus on. Find out if they have openings for people with your particular skill set, and whether or not they have programs and projects that can help you stretch yourself in the right direction. Take the time to study each organization’s history, board of directors, and company culture (you can get an idea of this if you look at their social media accounts and the like). It really helps if you open yourself to several different options.
If you want to work for yourself—either as a freelancer or as an owner of a start-up business—you need to make sure that you know what it entails first. Find connections who can give you advice on your new career path. Study the market and see if it’s open to your business idea, or if there’s a niche that you can take advantage of. See if you have a network that can support you in this endeavor.
Do all this before you hand in your resignation.
Make a Graceful Exit
Chances are good that you’re an important member of the team, and that your departure would cause a bit of an uproar. You need to make sure that everything is done and settled by the time you leave. There are certain steps you need to take, including
- Setting an appointment with your immediate supervisor. It’s important to let the person you’re reporting for to know of your intentions, so that you can both make plans for when you’re gone.
- Assisting with the transition and turnover. Someone has to take over your tasks after you’ve left the company, so it’s best that you help train people for the work you’ll have to leave behind. You could also use this time to introduce any clients you work with to the people who will be taking over some projects for you, as well as complete assignments that can be completed.
- Giving up the gadgets (if applicable). Some companies pay for things like your mobile business phone and work tablet, as well as the services associated with them. While you may not need to discontinue using them, it’s always polite to offer their return for the benefit of a new user within the company.
- Clearing out your desk little by little. Even before you inform people of your departure, you need to start taking your stuff home just in case they want you to leave the office on the moment you quit.
- Treating people to some goodies. Whether you loved your co-workers or not, they still helped you shape this leg of your career. Thank them by giving them something to enjoy on your last day.
You may be moving on, but that doesn’t mean that you’re burning bridges. Give your old job a proper goodbye.