Don't Burn Your Bridges

We’ve all done it in jobs throughout our careers…fantasised about walking into the boss’s office, declaring “I quit!” and then turning and strutting straight out the door. As much as we’d love to, we all know that it’s completely the wrong way to resign.

But what is the right approach and just how honest do you really need to be about your reasons for leaving?

How you start and how you end a job are more important than what happens in between.

Whatever your reasons are for leaving, believe me, your colleagues will want to know…and if they don’t get the facts then that infamous grapevine will go into full rumour mode! It’s up to you to set the tone.

How you start and how you end a job are more important than what happens in between. That first impression you worked so hard to maintain should be replicated in your departure.

Strategise your departure

How much notice do you need to give?  For some very odd reason as soon as you hand in your notice you are viewed as an outsider as you are excluded from internal meetings and social events no longer hold the same appeal.  You don’t want to give too much notice but then again you need to be fair to your employer by giving ample notice.

To keep the rumour mill at bay, tell your Manager first, then decide how it will be communicated to the rest of the company. Is it really necessary that it’s kept a huge secret and becomes Chinese whispers (by the end of which you will be expecting twins, moving to Alaska or joining a cult or even better still, starting your own one!)? Ask your Manager if she/he want to send an email informing your colleagues of your impending departure or will you informally let people know where the escape tunnel is?

You are under no obligation to reveal the ‘amazing’ new company you are going to join but what’s the point in lying about it?  Unless you block all of your current colleagues on Linkedin of course they are going to see your new role!  And even then, the world is too small to think you can hide your ‘exciting, new chapter!’  Besides, your former colleagues, even though you might not currently realise it, are in fact a crucial part of your network.

But for the love of graciousness don’t gossip.  Those ‘one-off conversations’ are not as they appear and will be ‘leaked’! They may not be as noteworthy as the Pentagon Papers and Watergate scandal but they are enough to have you remembered for all the wrong reasons!

And don’t go around giving different reasons to different people…people talk and once they start comparing notes they’ll start wondering which of them you blatantly lied to and why.  Trust will be gone out the door before you even get to make your spectacular departure.  Make like a politician…tell one story, one way and stick to it!

So as not to leave a bitter taste in your former boss’ and colleague’s mouths worse than a cheap tequila, work out a handover plan. And as much as you want to skip out the door giving the finger…DON’T! Bite your tongue, smile, and act grateful and gracious.

If your Manager is taking your departure personally and is accusing you of being disloyal, chalk it down to collateral damage…and keep smiling!


Exit Interview


Don’t use your Exit Interview as your opportunity to whinge and moan and point out everything that is wrong with the company, down to the cheap flimsy loo roll! Telling them what you regard as ‘home truths’ is not going to change the organisation. Do not vent, and do not get personal, this is not the time for emotional conversations.

And have the cop on not to take to social media to slag off and diss your former employer and work colleagues.

In today’s world of social media, everything is put out there! And everything is seen by the former company you are slagging off and just like that cheap Tequila, people you considered friends/colleagues are only too happy to regurgitate what you’ve said about them.  Oh and don’t forget that wonderful new company you are going to will also see you slag off your former employer and will not see you in a good light before you go skipping through their door.

You never know when you are going to need a reference, meet your former boss at an event or in the supermarket! What’s the point of a black mark against you, just for 5 minutes of feeling the ‘big person’ by ‘giving them a bit of your mind’ before, during or after your departure?

Remember, the world is too small, everyone talks so make sure they are only saying good things about you after your departure.

The numbers speak for themselves.

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