Quit Your Jobs

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How To Quit Your Day Job And Travel The World

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Mark Manson

Author. Thinker. Life Enthusiast.

How To Quit Your Day Job And Travel The World

It’s not as hard as it sounds to quit your job, drop everything, and travel the world. Here are a few ideas to consider.

14 minute read by Mark Manson

F our years ago on a sunny April morning, I slinked into my new office building, suit slightly too big, 24-years-old and clueless. It was my first day working at a large, prestigious bank in downtown Boston. The first day of the career that would ostensibly define the rest of my life.

I felt strangely powerful as I collected my new security badge and gained access to the sleek silver elevator. This was it. I was finally a real, live, functioning adult.

But that sense of power vanished once I was led to my new cubicle. Grey, sterile, joyless. I looked around and noted the smattering of other ambitious 20-somethings about me, awkwardly stuffed into cheap suits and business attire. Some worked furiously at their consoles, invigorated. Others slinked in their chairs, lifeless and a paper jam away from putting a shotgun in their mouth.

I would soon be one of the latter.

I sat, nervously sipping my energy drink as I waited for my new supervisor to come train me for the morning. She arrived around 8:30 AM and by 9 AM had shown me enough pointless procedures to make even the drabbest college textbook shout with a vibrant life in my memory. I woke up at 6:30 AM for this?

By 10 AM I silently asked myself when the soonest I’d be able to quit would be. I was two hours into my lifelong career choice of finance and I was already contemplating an escape route. “This is not a good sign,” I thought next.

I quit six weeks later.

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I would love to tell you leaving the bank was one of those triumphant movie moments, where I walked out of the office with a sly smile and Kevin Spacey fist pump. The reality is that I felt like an idiot. I trembled as I put my two weeks in to my manager. When he asked what I planned on doing instead, my shaky reply of some sort of website blog thing sounded just as ridiculous to me as it probably did to him. By lunch, the news has spread around my team. Most of them were so confused, they awkwardly avoided talking to me and didn’t say goodbye. I imagine they believed I had just flushed my future down the toilet. Part of me believed the same.

I get a lot of emails from readers asking me how I manage to travel the world without holding down a so-called “steady job.”

The short answer is the internet. Before this blog, I ran a number of websites and projects that earned some money. Then I did some freelance work. Then I wrote a book. Then people started telling me to write more stuff and jump ahead five years and about 500,000 words and here I am.

Many people dream about dropping out of the rat race. They want to let go of the career ladder and find a way to spend more time doing what they love. I wholeheartedly endorse this life decision. Although I felt stupid when I left the bank and would spend most of the next two years scared out of my mind, broke, and working all hours of the day and night, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

There’s already a lot written out there in this area: quitting your job, making money online, starting a business, vagabonding around the world, etc. A lot of it’s great. But a lot of it doesn’t talk about the emotional realities — dealing with doubt, finding the motivation, addressing the strains on your friends and relationships. I want to paint a realistic portrait of this life change. There are a lot of challenges, both mental and emotional, but I encourage you to take the leap.

Why You Should Terrify Yourself

Honest question. Do you love what you do?

If the answer isn’t a resounding, knee-jerk, “Yes! I live for this shit,” then I encourage you to seriously consider doing something about it. That may sound extreme, but seriously, in 100 years you and everyone you know are going to be dead and your great-grandkids aren’t going to get misty-eyed remembering how you got that quarterly bonus or a corner office. This is your life and every breath you take is killing you. Stop screwing around.

Chances are the thought of leaving your day job terrifies you. This is normal and expected… good even.

When I left the bank that day, I had only a vague idea of what I would do. I made a little bit of money here and there online. It wasn’t anything close to a full-time living, but I knew it was a new market that was growing quickly. And with some hard work combined with my savings, I (naïvely) believed I could have a full-time business up and running within a few months.

It turned out to take almost 18 months for me to earn a full-time steady income. I went broke a number of times, was supported by my ex-girlfriend for a time and then moved back home with my mother. For most of 2008-2009 I worked 10-16 hour days and the majority of my projects failed and made little or no money.

It was stressful to say the least.

People ask me what motivated me through this period. The answer is terror. Complete and unequivocal daily terror. I was absolutely terrified to fail. Granted there was some love in there as well (I loved my job and still do). But that’s also where the terror came from: the idea that I would never make money doing what I love; the terror that I’d have to go back to living off a job I hated; the terror that I would have wasted two years with nothing to show for it; the terror that all of my friends and family who thought I was crazy would be proven right.

This fear kept me up at nights, and more importantly kept me up at nights working.

I’ve met a number of people over the years who want to quit their jobs, to start their own businesses, to develop new streams of income. And they’re scared. Obviously. They should be. But instead of leveraging their terror into action, they spend all of their time planning and planning and planning and not doing anything.

90% of your plans are going to fail no matter what you do. Get used to it.

It’s not because we’re poor planners, it’s because there are simply too many unknowns. And the only way to uncover the unknowns and adjust for them is by getting out there and failing. So yes, you should be terrified of failing. And that is why you should do it anyway.

When I wanted to leave the bank, a number of friends and family members suggested that I continue to build my business on the side until I had a steady income. In hindsight, I think if I would have done that, I would not have made it. Giving up would have been too easy. I wouldn’t have had the time or energy necessary to do it. That ever-present fear motivating me would have been gone.

The terror that jumping in headfirst gave me was my most powerful asset. I was committed. I’d win or die trying. I sold my possessions (video games, computer, furniture, guitars — everything). I stopped most of my hobbies. I lost contact with a number of my friends. I knew all of these things would return once I became successful. But failure was not an option.

Intellect is great. Work ethic is great. Ability to adapt is definitely necessary. But you also need the emotional drive to push you to achieve your dreams. Everyone’s had the feeling where you know what you should do in your gut, feeling it and wanting it, but not having the emotional drive or wherewithal to actually get up and do it. So you continue sitting in the desk you hate day after day, year after year, waiting for something that’s never coming, trapped by your comfort and safe in your mediocrity.

Terrify yourself. Use it as your ally. Give yourself no option but your dream.

“There’s no reason to do shit you hate. None.”

Planning Your Escape

OK, that’s all well and good, but let’s talk about reality. Especially if you have kids, house payments, car payments, student loans or health problems. What do you do?

1. Sell all your useless crap and get your financial house in order

Excess possessions are counterproductive for pursuing a remote lifestyle. And they’re often counterproductive for achieving happiness in general. If you own something that is eating away at you financially (furniture, car, etc.), consider cutting your losses and getting rid of it while you can. Debt is the devil. I wrote an entire post on getting rid of excess crap you don’t need here.

Doing this may make you squirm at first. Or you may be sitting there (once again) thinking I’m a total nutcase and unrealistic and you could never get rid of your super-double-upholstered Italian sofa that just ties the room together, but fuck you, sell it anyway. There are a million sofas in the world, your life experiences happen once. Get on it.

In extreme cases, this may involve selling your house. That may sound insane and may be completely unreasonable for you, especially if you have a family. If so, then rent it out. Obviously mileage may vary depending on who you are and what your life circumstances are. Why be miserable and financially stuck in a house when you can be happy and free in an apartment? Boom.

2. Figure out your source of income

People seem to believe they’re trapped within the typical 9-to-5 career track, but in fact there are a lot of options. In the US, we’re rarely exposed to the options we have outside of our nation’s borders (minus the military). You just have to be willing to take some risks and work a bit harder.

An incomplete list of options to get your ass abroad and exploring the world:

  • Join a volunteer organization. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and putting yourself in some extreme environments, then volunteer organizations, both NGO’s and otherwise (i.e., Peace Corps) are always looking for help. You’ll most often be sent to developing countries, but some developing countries are surprisingly pleasant to live in (Thailand, Colombia, Philippines, Peru, etc.). Once you’re on the other continent, bouncing around from country to country is rarely more than a $50 bus/train/plane ticket away.
  • Teach English. The pay is low and the work is hard, but this will get you a paid trip to another continent and often with really good vacation time. Asia and Latin America are the go-to continents for this with no experience or foreign language required. If you teach in Europe, you’re going to have to know the destination language at the least. A friend of mine taught English in South Korea for six months, took the money she made and went to India for three months, then taught in the Philippines for another six months and then bounced around Southeast Asia for a while after that. Not a bad experience.
  • Find a source of mobile income. Poker. Stock/options trading. Freelancing. Consulting. Internet marketing. Blogging. Graphic/Web design. Writer/journalist. These are all professions I’ve run into on the road. These are all forms of income which can be earned regardless of location (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few). Some of them have a steep and long learning-curve, but there’s never a better time to start than now.
  • Start an online business. This is a massive topic which other people can cover much better than I ever could, but internet startups can often be created and managed from anywhere. In fact, there are a number of startup “incubators” around the world where internet entrepreneurs congregate in places with high qualities of life and very low expenses (Chiang Mai in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Medellin in Colombia, etc.).
  • Convince your company to let you work remotely. Not an option for everybody, but if you’re a programmer, developer or designer, then this could be an option for you.
  • Get transferred overseas. Another option if you work for a large international corporation such as Procter and Gamble or Yahoo! is to get transferred to various locations around the world. You can often gain a lot of vacation time by working in other countries as well which will allow you to explore.
  • Find odd jobs as you travel. This is easy in some countries and impossibly hard in others. But finding jobs in hostels, bars and restaurants in cities you travel to can be done to support yourself wherever you go. A number of people do this. It takes time and effort and obviously is quite stressful, but it can be done.
  • Work on a cruise or for an airline. Seriously. These people have amazing flexibility with their time at sea and where they get to go. I met a woman who worked on a cruise in Costa Rica and she had been to over 75 countries, living in a dozen for more than six months. She was in her early 30’s. Same concept applies to working for an airline but to a lesser extent (and far more jet lag)
  • Start your entire career abroad. In a number of developing parts of the world, particularly Asia, there’s an extremely high demand for university-educated Westerners for high-paying management positions. Countries like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Singapore, are importing a lot of western talent. Not only can a recent college graduate skip multiple rungs on the corporate ladder by moving to one of these countries, but they can see a major quality of life increase at a lower cost-of-living. Let’s just say that making $60,000 a year in Shanghai goes a LOT further than making $80,000 per year in New York City.

You can combine a number of these strategies. Sometimes you can just take off with your savings and begin to figure it out as you go. Someone can leave with their life savings, start a blog on the way, do some freelance consultant work online, work some odd jobs here and there, and by the time their savings run out, they have a modest location-independent income. But as always, Google is your friend. There’s no shortage of websites and resources on NGO’s, internet startups, marketing, expatriation, backpacking, vagabonding, etc.

3. Calculate your “Escape Velocity”

Do some research and choose your first destination(s). Do you want to try an internet startup in Asia? Work for an NGO in Central America? Backpack through Europe and pick up odd jobs on the way? A lot of people come to me and say, “I want to live abroad, how can I do it?” Well it depends where you go. You can live like a king off $1,000 in Thailand or the Philippines, or spend that much in a week in Brazil. It depends where you’re going and what you’re doing.

The other factor is your financial obligations. If you have debt back home you need to factor that in. If you have health problems, then you need to do a lot of research on that as well. The good news is if you’re an American, you’re going to save a LOT of money on health care by leaving the country.

Calculate the amount you need to earn passively per month to survive wherever you want to go. This may involve getting a job once you’re there. It may involve saving up a bunch of money now and selling stuff. It may involve creating passive streams online. Either way, budget it out so you know when you’re ready.

4. Pull the trigger

Once you know your target level of savings and/or location-independent income, work towards it with everything you have. This may involve killing your day job off immediately in order to free up more time to work for it. This may mean setting a financial goal for the day you can put your two weeks in.

Get creative and don’t have an ego about it. A friend of mine decided to throw himself into this lifestyle 100% and moved back in with his parents for almost a year before he got on his feet and running. I lived on a friend’s couch for a while. Later I moved back in with my mother until I had enough money to buy a plane ticket to Argentina. Once I was there I could live well off about half the income I needed to live in the US. From there I built my business up further.

But, like I said, planning will only take you so far. Plan the best you can, but then throw yourself into the fire. Leave yourself no option but to come out on top. It will be hard and nerve-wracking, but that’s how you grow. That’s how you squeeze all of juice out of life. Terrify yourself. Then laugh about it.

Long-Term Travel Course

If you’re serious about this and want to really get into the nitty-gritty of building a life of long-term travel, you can check out my course, Escape Plan, that’s part of the membership to my site. I cover everything I know about travel and living and working abroad, from finding cheap flights to supporting yourself financially to making new friends in foreign countries.

Further Reading:

How to Know Who You Really Are

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Should You End Things with Your Job?

When is it time for you to end things … with your job?

No one takes a job with the expectation that it will turn into a disappointment, much like no one chooses to go into a new relationship thinking about how it may not work out. When you arrive at the realization that your job has become a source of anxiety, things may look grim indeed. If your relationship status with your job is “complicated,” that’s just another way of saying “It’s not working.” So how do you know when to end it?

Many professionals have a strong resistance to leaving a job that’s not working out. Quitting is hard because it carries an implication that you gave up, did not try hard enough, or were not good enough to make it work. The reality, as Seth Godin so aptly puts it, is that the motivational quotes that tell you “Quitters never win and winners never quit” are wrong. Winners quit all the time — they just quit the right stuff at the right time.

That can be surprisingly difficult to do. How do you make sure you quit for the right reasons? How do you find a new job while employed? Here are five questions to ask yourself that can help you think through your “complicated” relationship with your job and make the best decision.

1: Where is the problem really coming from?

Before you plan your next career move, your first step should be to honestly look at the current situation and figure out what’s happening. Sometimes, the issue has little to do with the job and everything to do with your personal life. Dissatisfaction or missing pieces in one part of your life can certainly spill elsewhere, so check your basics before you give up on a career. Health, sleep deprivation, relationships — figure out where exactly the problem is before you make any dramatic changes at work.

2: Is your discomfort temporary or permanent?

Professional growth does not come pain-free. If the discomfort you are experiencing is a temporary side effect of learning new things or stretching into new challenges, quitting your job will rob you of an opportunity to grow and advance professionally. If the discomfort is permanent or damaging, however, staying in the situation will cost you time from your career and not contribute much to your professional development.

3: What is your personal “point of no return?”

Everyone has a personal set of factors that are firm nonstarters. What are yours? An abusive boss, a job that has offered no opportunities for growth and career development, a commute to the new office that consumes two hours in one direction — you decide what would spell an absolute “no” for you.

4: What needs to change for you to feel great about staying?

This is the reverse of question three: Instead of thinking about what would make the decision to quit a no-brainer, consider what it would take to stay. Most situations can be salvaged, even if just in theory. Perhaps it might take reporting to a different person, finding a trusted mentor, or taking on a good career development opportunity or interesting side project.

5: Have you exhausted your options for making it better?

This may be the most challenging because it forces you to face the fact that the complicated and painful situation you are in was co-created with your active participation. Be brutally honest and ask yourself if you have really done everything you could to make this better. Own your part in the mess so that you can begin to dig your way out.

What if you have answered the five questions above and concluded that your work situation has moved beyond “It’s complicated” and into “It’s time to break up”? The best strategy is to start actively looking for other options and applying for jobs while still employed. This step is best done as quietly as possible, no matter how tempted you might be to make a scene. Here are five common job-quitting mistakes that could be detrimental to your long-term career. Avoid them at all costs!

Job-Quitting Mistake #1: Gossipping and complaining to co-workers

Sure, it may help you blow off some steam and bond over the shared misery. However, complaining and gossiping adds no constructive value beyond making you feel momentarily better. The relief will pass quickly, but the consequences may last longer than this job. Feeling frustrated and upset is completely normal in your situation, but try to channel those feelings into constructive next steps: Brush the dust off of that LinkedIn profile, get a professional to review your resume, or re-connect with professionals who can help you find a new opportunity.

Job-Quitting Mistake #2: Using the possibility of quitting as leverage

Here is the big secret: successful professionals either stay in a job and make the most of it or leave without making a fuss. They don’t talk about quitting in hypothetical terms or use it as a negotiating leverage.

When you feel underappreciated or undercompensated, it’s tempting to believe that the threat of leaving will make your boss realize how amazing you are and finally give you what you want. In your imagination, the company will pay you more, grant you the things you have been asking for, reassign you to a different job, and give you more flexibility — just to make you stay. Unfortunately, real life does not work that way. Instead of delivering on your requests, your boss is much more likely to begin searching for your replacement! Your outburst of “Well, I guess I will just start looking for other opportunities!” will lock you out of interesting new projects and make you look unprofessional and childish. Don’t do it.

Job-Quitting Mistake #3: Not showing up

Checking out physically or mentally spells the death of good opportunities for professionals. It’s difficult to remain engaged when your heart isn’t in it (I’m not suggesting you become the company’s biggest cheerleader!), but you think twice before you stop doing your work. Stay focused. References matter and today’s business world is more connected than ever before. Do your best to leave with your performance reviews and professional integrity intact.

Job-Quitting Mistake #4: Making emotional decisions

Slamming a door in your boss’s face will give you a few seconds of satisfaction. So will stomping out of a meeting or screaming at a difficult co-worker. In the end, though, all of those actions are more likely to sabotage your next career move than set you up for success. Keep your eye on the ball, take a deep breath, and do what’s best for your career in the long run, which, in most cases, involves taking control of your emotional state.

Job-Quitting Mistake # 5: Quitting on a whim with no plan

Walking out of a job has its perks — a completely open day tomorrow, for instance. However, it also takes away one of your options without automatically creating others. Looking for a job while unemployed is definitely not an impossible task — plenty of professionals do it to great effect. However, searching for a new opportunity from the safety of a stable paycheck gives you the luxury of time. It lowers the pressure to find a position in two weeks or risk missing your rent or mortgage payment. That, in turn, improves the odds of finding a position that is a great fit instead of something to just tide you over.

When things get “complicated” at work, keep a cool head! Just as in romantic relationships, sudden, poorly-considered moves won’t serve you in the workplace. Even if your situation at work leaves much to be desired, more options are always better. By continuing to show up and taking an honest look at your circumstances, you gain the perspective and the time to craft a plan and make your next career move a good one. After all, you deserve nothing less!

Click on the following link for more advice on changing careers.

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How to Quit Your Job in the Most Professional Way Possible

I ended my college baseball career over text. Granted, I didn’t really see eye-to-eye with my coach, and at the time, I didn’t exactly feel like giving him the courtesy of an in-person meeting. But, still, I had respect for him: he gave me the opportunity to continue my baseball career after high school, which lead to some of my fondest college memories.

If I could do it all over again, I would have told him face-to-face that I was leaving the team. But even though I quit the team almost four years ago, the thought of facing my coach in person and telling him that I’ve decided to move on from the team still makes me nervous. After all, he invested in my growth as a baseball player, and joining his team was one of the big reasons why I decided to attend my college. We didn’t have the best relationship, but I still felt anxious and guilty about leaving the team.

Regardless of the situation you were in when you left your job, quitting is always nerve-racking. You’ve built relationships with your boss and colleagues, and they’ve invested a lot of time and effort in your development. Their potential reaction to your decision can naturally produce a lot of anxiety: how will they handle the news? What if your manager gets mad or frustrated at you? Will you seem ungrateful for leaving the opportunity they gave you?

Despite all these scary thoughts, you must remember that you’re almost certainly not the first person who has left the company, and you definitely won’t be the last.

Quitting is a standard part of the working world. But just because quitting is normal, it’s still easy to ruffle some feathers during the resignation process. And news can travel fast in professional networks — leaving a wake of ashes out of your old office could taint your reputation at your new job. You don’t want to burn any bridges, so resigning with grace is crucial for maintaining the health of your professional relationships and, ultimately, making your next career move.

How to Quit Your Job in the Most Professional Way Possible

  1. Don’t tell your colleagues about your plans before you tell your manager.
  2. Quit in person.
  3. Give at least two weeks notice.
  4. Write a two weeks notice letter.
  5. Finish strong.
  6. Train your replacement.
  7. Write a goodbye email to your teammates.
  8. Express gratitude toward your mentors.
  9. Don’t blast your manager, team, or the company.

Don’t tell your colleagues about your plans before you tell your manager.

Even if you have a close relationship with your colleagues, telling them you’re moving on before you tell your manager can produce office gossip that she might overhear, passing the news about your future plans to her before you can even set up a meeting about it.

Indirectly discovering your decision could make her feel disrespected, and can lead to an awkward confrontation. If your manager hears about your resignation through the grapevine, you’ll leave your company with a damaged reputation, which can weaken your former colleagues’ references and recommendations of you in the future.

Quit in person.

Quitting with an email, leaving your resignation letter on your manager’s desk, or resigning to human resources instead of your manager could make you seem ungrateful and entitled, especially if your manager has invested a lot of time and effort into your growth.

Facing your manager in person is the most respectful way to leave your job. But you should also try to eliminate the element of surprise a resignation can produce. People don’t like surprises that trigger big changes in their day-to-day workflow, so before you randomly set up a meeting and abruptly tell your manager the unfortunate news, send her an email that simply states that you’d like to discuss your future with her.

This way, she’ll have time to process the thought of you leaving the company and be less reactive to the news when you actually meet.

Give at least two weeks notice.

Most people will tell you that it’s standard practice to give your employer two weeks notice before you leave. But that’s actually the minimum amount of notice you should give them. A three to four week notice before you officially leave for good allows your employer to spend more time finding a best-fit replacement for you.

If your former employer replaces you with someone who ends up being the wrong fit because they had to scramble through the vetting process to help an understaffed team cover your workload, they might blame their hiring mishap on your short notice and think less of your professional prowess.

If you don’t know the optimal amount of notice you should give, follow your company’s policy about resigning, or take note of the amount of notice other employees gave before they left. If you’re a manager, you need to give your employer even more time to find your replacement — management is arguably the most important part of any team and one of the most challenging roles to replace. According to Leonard Schlesinger, a Professor at Harvard Business School, managers should submit their resignation letter four to six weeks before they leave.

Write a two weeks notice letter.

A two weeks’ notice letter is a formality, but sending your resignation information to both human resources and your manager clarifies that you’re leaving the company, solidifies the date of your last day, and prevents the company from making you work longer than intended.

Writing a two weeks’ notice letter is also the only way to officially state that you ended your tenure at a company, not the other way around. Your future employer will most likely request your employment records to find out if you actually left on your own or got fired, so it’s important to put this information in writing.

When you write your two weeks’ notice letter, keep it short and sweet. You don’t need to delve into the reasoning of why you’re leaving or what would’ve made you stay at the company. All you need to do is include three main elements in your resignation letter: the fact that you’re resigning, when you’re last day work will be, and a brief note of appreciation for the opportunity.

You can also include the date of your resignation, so your employer can verify that you gave them an ample amount of notice before you left, and an offer to train your replacement.

Here’s an example of a resignation letter you can follow:

Dear Mr./Ms. Manager

I’m writing to let you know that I’m resigning from my position as marketing coordinator at Outbound, Incorporated. My last day will be on August 24, 2020.

This was a tough decision to make. Outbound, Inc. has done great things for my career development. I greatly appreciate the amount of time and effort you invested into my professional growth and all the opportunities you gave me. Without your guidance, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Please let know how I can help out my replacement. I’m more than happy to train him/her and accelerate their transition period. I wish you and Outbound, Inc. all the best.

Your Typed Name

Finish strong.

Maintaining your productivity and motivation will prove to your manager and colleagues that you’re a responsible and accountable professional. This will leave a strong lasting impression on your colleagues and make them more likely to refer or recommend you for jobs in the future — humans have a recency bias where they remember and emphasize the most recent observations about people more than the ones in the near or distant past.

If the last thing your colleagues observe about you is that you stay dedicated and engaged at work, even though you knew you’re moving on to a new role in matter of a few weeks, they’ll remember you as the person who was committed to finishing what they started more than the person who wrote a viral blog post during their first month of work.

If you slack off during your final weeks, especially when your team is working on a big project or if you have several important tasks to finish, you’ll leave your team with the burden of completing your unfinished pile of work and a negative last impression of your character.

Train your replacement.

Helping your replacement learn the ropes of your old role and accelerating her transition will not only help your old team gain back some lost productivity, but it will also display your gratitude for the opportunity your former employer gave you.

Training your replacement is an extra step you don’t always need to take (and often times won’t have the opportunity to). But your generosity will leave a mark on your colleagues and pay off in the future.

If you can’t directly help your replacement overcome your old role’s learning curve, write her a comprehensive guide that covers key processes, contacts, and advice.

Write a goodbye email to your teammates.

Out of all your colleagues, you’ll usually grow closest with your teammates. They deserve to know about your future plans directly from you. Seeing your empty desk and connecting the dots themselves will make them feel like your relationship didn’t mean much to you.

Your goodbye email is a reflection of the positive moments you shared with your teammates, so write about the good times, avoid talking about the bad, and express gratitude for the opportunity and privilege of working alongside with them.

You can also give them your personal email address so you can keep in touch.

Express gratitude toward your mentors.

The people who impacted your career the most deserve a personal thank you. Even if you didn’t have the best relationship with your manager, her job was to oversee your growth, so she likely invested a ton of time and effort into you. You probably wouldn’t be where you were today without her guidance.

To express your gratitude, verbally thank her, tell her how much she taught you, and offer some feedback during your exit interview. You could also write a personal thank you note that covers all of these points.

Don’t blast your manager, team, or the company.

Unleashing an emotional burst of criticism toward your manager or human resources might feel great in the moment, especially if you’ve had a rocky relationship with your manager. But your eruption could wound her self-esteem and anger her, changing her opinion of you and ruining the future references that she’ll give you.

During your exit interview, try to focus on the positives of your experience and constructively voice your concerns about the company, team, or your manager. You don’t want to spark any backlash — there’s nothing you can gain from it. You’re already leaving the organization.

Quitting your job is a science and art.

Quitting your job requires a lot of courage and skill. You can feel guilty about leaving your job, especially if your manager has invested a lot of time and effort in your development, but, ultimately, you need to do what’s best for your career.

That said, quitting your job is a delicate process. If you want to do what’s best for your career, you need to transition out of your company in the smoothest way possible.

By not ruffling any feathers, respecting your manager, and appreciating the opportunity of working at your old company, you can leave and join companies with your network and reputation intact.

Originally published Jul 24, 2020 6:00:00 AM, updated July 24 2020

How to Quit Your Job

A Guide to Quitting Your Current Job With Class

Quitting a job —as exciting as it is—can also be quite stressful. Your head is swirling with questions: Will my employer be angry? Will I burn bridges ? Will I get everything done?

But with this step-by-step guide, saying sayonara to your present position will be easy-peasy—we promise. We’ll take you through all the essential steps of how to leave your employer with professionalism and a good impression, and move on to your dream job.

When to Quit

When you’re unhappy in your current position, it can be very tempting to put in two-weeks’ notice before you have a new job . Of course, conventional wisdom says that it’s much better to wait to quit a job until after you’ve safely secured another one. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. To determine if you can afford—literally—to quit your job before finding a new one, here are some questions you should ask yourself :

  • Depending on your industry or field, it can be difficult to find a new job fast. Do you have the financial resources to keep yourself going for three months? Six months?
  • Many hiring managers—though not all—don’t like to see a significant gap between jobs. If anything, they’re going to want to know: what happened with your last job? Can you tell the story without it appearing as a negative part of your career history?
  • Being unemployed for a long stretch of time can be hard on people psychologically, which makes them more likely to underperform in an interview. Would that be you?

Think the answers to these questions over. Depending on your chosen field, prematurely quitting your job could carry too much risk. Alternately, quitting your job to improve your mental or physical health can help you turn over a new leaf and can lead to new growth.

You have to make the decision that’s right for you. Decisions made under stress or pressure don’t usually have the best outcomes, so it pays to step back and think about your options.

How to Share the News

Now that you’ve determined it’s time to quit, you must schedule a meeting with your boss to share the news. Determine a time of day that best fits into your boss’ schedule. Mention that you want to schedule a one-on-one meeting at his or her earliest convenience.

Before the meeting, have a plan for all the small details so you—and the company—can move forward. Prepare your explanation to clearly articulate why you’re leaving. If you are leaving because you found a role that best fits your skill set and allows you to grow as the best version of yourself, be sure to share that feedback with your employer.

And no matter what the circumstances are of your exit from the company, thank your boss for the years of collaboration, hard work, and achievements. Whether in an email or a mini-sendoff meeting, be appreciative as you exit . This will ensure you don’t burn any bridges.

How to Write a Resignation Letter

After you’ve spoken with your employer, it’s time to make your departure official with a resignation letter to present. A resignation letter is brief, direct, and devoid of extraneous fluff. All you need are the details of your departure, peppered with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the experiences you’ve had on the job. Here’s a template you can tweak:

This letter serves as formal notice of my resignation from my position as [JOB TITLE], effective [DATE].

The past [NUMBER] years working at [COMPANY] have been some of the most rewarding experiences to date. I’d like to particularly thank you for your time, support, and encouragement of my professional growth. It’s been a pleasure working on such a talented team, and to be able to have done so under your leadership.

I’m committed to making this transition period as smooth as possible. I’ll continue to work on my [SPECIFIC JOB RESPONSIBILITIES] until my resignation. Following my departure, [COLLEAGUE/REPLACEMENT] will be the new point of contact.

I look forward to staying in touch, and please feel free to add my personal email to your address book: [PERSONAL EMAIL]


Send your resignation letter to your boss. If your company has an HR department, you should send it there as well. Submit a digital version via email, but also print your letter and submit a paper copy so they can keep it for their records. And don’t forget to keep a copy yourself, especially if you sent it from a work email address that will soon be defunct!

Plan Your Final Days

It’s easy to fall into a bit of a lazy rut on your final week or so. However, you want to go out on a high note and leave a strong lasting impression with your colleagues and bosses. That means maintaining your level of productivity, staying engaged, and pushing yourself to set your team up for future success. After all, you want to be remembered for being a hardworking, dedicated professional who inspired others. Here are a few things to do.

Prepare a transition document . Before you leave, outline the projects you’ve been working on, key information, and important contacts to pass along to your team or the person assuming your duties. This will endear others to you and is the ultimate way you can transition out of a role smoothly, without burning bridges.

Send a transition email . Craft a message to important company clients to tell them about your departure and last date on the job. Make a list of who would want to keep working with your team going forward and be sure to connect the dots.

And ask for references . You want to build a network of positive references for your future. Building and maintaining professional relationships is the cornerstone to career success.

Learn More!

Now that you know how to quit your job, it’s time to start thinking about your next job—hopefully, your dream job! Here are some resources to help you succeed in your next steps.

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