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How to Burn Bridges When You Quit Your Job

Topics: Career Advice
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Welcome to Choose Your Own Adventure! Scenario: You’re ready to quit your job. Should you burn bridges, or should you be professional and polite?

So, you’re ready to quit. Whether it’s because you have something great lined up or you just can’t take one more day, you’ve got one foot out that proverbial door. If you want to make a scene, burn that bridge and never have any positive dealings with anyone there ever again, by all means, do one of these things.
If you want to take a moment and think it over and leave on a courteous and professional note, then try a few of our alternative ideas for leaving a job…that don’t include flipping tables or leaving a burning bag of something on the doorstep.

Burn: Don’t Give Notice

You announce that your last day will be today. Not only that, you’re on your way out the door right now. If there was a mic, you’d have dropped it.

Bonus: Give the Standard Two Weeks Notice, in Writing, to Multiple Managers and HR Folks

This way, even if someone doesn’t see your email right away, you’ll be covered. In addition, you should try and break the news in person to your boss, so you can talk about your plans, lay out an exit strategy to get all your work covered, and set some expectations for managing the time you have left.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”So, you’re ready to quit. If you want to make a scene, burn that bridge and never have any positive dealings with anyone at your old organization ever again, do these things.” quote=”So, you’re ready to quit. If you want to make a scene, burn that bridge and never have any positive dealings with anyone at your old organization ever again, do these things.”]

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Burn: Badmouth the Company to Your New Boss

From day one at your new job, you’re talking smack, sharing embarrassing stories, and generally spreading rumors galore. But no matter how big a city you’re in, you might find that your industry is a “small world.” Those stories will get around, and your old boss will know exactly who was telling tales out of school.

Bonus: Be Respectful in Any Sharing of Past Deeds

Even if someone eggs you on and wants to hear all about “that one time” or “that disaster” they heard about from your past life, don’t rise to the bait. Being a trustworthy past employee shows your current boss and coworkers that you will be loyal and professional even after you leave this job — at some point in the future.

Burn: Send a Scree to the Whole Company

You push send, and a few seconds later start hearing gasps from everyone’s cubicle. You’ve just sent a masterpiece of emotional (and maybe not quite sober?) writing to everyone in the company to bare your soul and really let the feelings fly. Good thing they’ll all remember you…as you go down in infamy on the email servers.

Bonus: You Email Your Group to Say Goodbye and Make Some Connections

Emails on your last day are a great idea, and a good way to stay in touch with professional resources and connections. Say some heartfelt goodbyes, even if you’ve just decided that the fit wasn’t right and your now old job. Leaving with respect and dignity isn’t lame. It’s adult.

Burn: Tell the Whole Truth at Your Exit Interview

No, really, tell us how you feel! If you let the dirt fly at your exit interview, some of that might end up splashing on your own shirt on your way out. HR isn’t bound by some client privilege, which means what you say might end up being made public. Be careful to monitor yourself, and try not to over share, unless you’re alerting the company to criminal activity they should be aware of.

Bonus: You Give Some Constructive Criticism to HR

You don’t have to shine light up anyone’s trousers in your exit interview, but you should think before you speak. Perhaps make a list of items you’d like to touch on before your interview takes place, and try to use your time wisely. Thinking about your time in your position, and what could be improved isn’t a bad idea anyway, and you can take those ideas to your next position, too!

Burn: Share Everything on Social Media

Facebook and Twitter aren’t locked down, no matter how “private” you make your settings. You never know when your social sharing might get to be just too much for your old (or new) boss to handle. Definitely don’t share on social that you’ve got a new job before you’ve given leave at your old one, and don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. If you haven’t gotten a formal job offer, don’t blab that it’s yours. Nothings final until it’s in writing, after all!

Bonus: Keep Your Cards Close to Your Vest

If you really feel like baring your soul, do it in a journal that you keep in the nightstand — not to everyone on Facebook. It can be helpful for you to keep track of your feelings and thoughts somewhere other than that brain of yours. Journaling can be a great release. Just don’t release it out to the public.


Tell us your best (or worst) quitting story? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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