On quitting.

Emily Brown is a Career Ser­vices intern and a grad­uate stu­dent in Northeastern’s Col­lege Stu­dent Devel­op­ment and Coun­seling Pro­gram. She is a life­long Bostonian inter­ested in the inte­gra­tion of social media into the pro­fes­sional realm.  Con­tact her at e.​brown@​neu.​edu.

Quit­ting. We’ve all done it. Whether it was that youth soccer team or stu­dent gov­ern­ment, we’ve all made that deci­sion not to con­tinue with a cer­tain activity or group. It was easy enough right? Just don’t sign up the next go around. But what about quit­ting your first job? You can’t just opt out on Jan­uary first. Thanks, but no thanks, I won’t be returning this year. There has to be careful plan­ning – where will I work instead? Can I schedule inter­views during my lunch break? When do I tell my boss? HOW do I tell my boss? What do I do and say on my last day? Just like the first day on a new job, leaving a job can be anxiety-​​ridden. If an inter­view is like a first date, leaving a job is the break-​​up – “it’s not you, it’s me… we just want dif­ferent things… it’s a great place to work, just not great for me any­more.” Like break-​​ups in one’s per­sonal life, quit­ting a job is unavoid­able in one’s pro­fes­sional life. So how do you ensure that you keep it pro­fes­sional and “stay friends” (aka leave on good terms)?

image from scottm​c​cown​.files​.word​press​.com

  1. Timing – Two weeks’ notice. It’s the right thing to do. If the company policy requests more than two weeks notice, then adhere to that.
  2. Transition – Someone else is going to have to do your job when you’re gone right? Whether it’s a new employee or a coworker, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to take on your tasks. This might mean training the new employee, scheduling meetings to discuss projects with coworkers, making LISTS. Everyone loves a list.
  3. Last day – Don’t just beeline out the door at 5:00. Say goodbye to your boss and coworkers and thank them for the experience. You could send a group email to coworkers with your personal contact information if you want to stay in touch.
  4. Trash talk – Just don’t do it. The world is small and negative comments could easily get back to former boss or coworkers. If your new employer hears your negativity, he or she might think you’re immature or ungrateful.

So, no, quit­ting a job is not as simple as quit­ting girl scouts, but if done in a pro­fes­sional manner, it is not a neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence. Keep in mind that everyone likely has to do it at some point in their career, so your boss will under­stand what you are expe­ri­encing and hope­fully be sup­portive of your decision.

Emily Brown is a Career Ser­vices intern and a grad­uate stu­dent in Northeastern’s Col­lege Stu­dent Devel­op­ment and Coun­seling Pro­gram. She is a life­long Bostonian inter­ested in the inte­gra­tion of social media into the pro­fes­sional realm.  Con­tact her at e.​brown@​neu.​edu.