How to Quit Your Job and Leave with Good References

So you’ve decided that this job isn’t for you anymore. Maybe you’re looking for more money, more experience or a shorter commute. Or maybe you hate the job, despise your boss and loathe the workload. It’s ok if it’s the latter-but your boss doesn’t have to know the real reasons you want to quit your job.

Sure, you can get it all off your chest and rant and rave to your future ex-boss, but expect to be escorted out of the building shortly thereafter. Don’t stop at your cubicle, don’t collect your belongings and don’t say goodbyeâÂ?¦to anyone. Oh, and don’t bother asking your boss for a good reference in the future.

Here you’ll find out how not to quit your job, how to move on with the respect of your colleagues, and possibly gain a good reference from your boss. Here goes:

1. Do not write a long, drawn out resignation letter insulting your boss or the company. Do not list every last reason you’re leaving the company. Instead, write a brief and to the point letter stating that you’re resigning. You don’t have to say why. End your letter with a positive statement about the company or the position or both. (If you need help writing your letter, search for sample resignation letters on the Internet.)

2. Do not distribute copies of aforementioned letter to everyone in your department. Although your colleagues would probably get a kick out of reading a letter that tells your boss how you really feel, you’ll be leaving on bad terms and without a good reference. You may cross paths with your boss or colleagues sometime in the future, and their memory of your less-than-professional behavior will stick with themâÂ?¦pretty much forever. It’s just not worth the cheap laughs and short-lived pats on the back.

3. Do not accept a counter offer. If you hated this job enough to quit, you’ll hate it just as much if they offer you an increase in salaryâÂ?¦ You would just earn more money to hate it the same amount (if not a little more). After all, if all you wanted was more money, you should have asked for a raise. But you’re quitting, so keep reading.

4. Do not steal office supplies, as difficult as it might be to refrain. I know the stapler, mailing labels, good pens and can of compressed air are calling out to you, practically jumping into your briefcase/tote bag/big purse, but you must not give into temptation. The same goes for confidential or company-owned paper files, electronic files and other information. The company might find out in the end, and, generally, stealing is a criminal offense. (Plus it would really suck if the security guard searched your briefcase on your last day and found it chock full of good pens. How embarrassing!)

5. Do not enjoy handing in your resignation too much. Rather, don’t appear to be enjoying it. Gloating is bad. So is grinning ear to ear, skipping down the hall and giving high-fives to your friends. After tendering my resignation at a job I hated, people kept coming up to me saying that I suddenly looked better. Looked better? Well, what had I looked like before? That’s right, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders the second I resigned, and I had trouble hiding it. My bitter colleagues were just jealous that I clawed my way out of there first. Suckers!

6. Do not rave about your new job and why it’s so much better than this one. Chances are, your colleagues want out just as badly as you do-but they’re not the ones handing in their resignation letters. Bitter resentment from colleagues can last a long time, and if you lose touch with them now you won’t get all the dirt when the company is run into the ground in six months. Or when the boss-lady is fired. Or when two executive-level secret lovers are caught smooching in the stairwell. You never know! Plus, you haven’t started this great new job yet, so even you don’t know exactly what you’re bragging about.

Good luck quitting your job professionally, with dignity and style. By following these steps you’ll be well on your way to gaining good references and keeping your colleagues’ respect. Plus, it feels good to do the right thing. (Ok, I’ll shut up now.)

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