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Leaving your job - don't burn those bridges!

The time comes for everyone where their job isn't what it used to be (or perhaps it never was!). So you have to leave. Some people don't understand that being unhappy in a job is more important than your income at the time. You just have to do it.

So what's the best way to go about it? How can you minimise the impact on both your career and your soon-to-be ex-employer?

Tie up loose ends!

You weren't thinking about just walking out were you?

It's a move a lot of people make and can be a big mistake. It could be argued that there are a lot of issues in the workplace that could mean just getting up and walking out would save a lot of hassle, but it could also be argued that you should at least try to resolve these issues first.

If you have outstanding work, then try to get it finished. If other departments are relying on you to do their jobs, then it is only professional courtesy to not let them down. How would you feel if you couldn't hit the deadline because someone just up and left?

Creating a list of pending tasks to complete for your replacement and going over them with your manager is a very simple task and should be the least you can do. Ideally you want to make it easy as possible for someone to take over your work.

Should you give notice?

Well, yes - if you can.

Nobody likes to be left in the lurch and no matter what you think of your boss or your colleagues, they are just people doing their job.

Most employment contracts require that you give a certain amount of notice and you should try to adhere to that. In a lot of cases, your employer may not want you to work your notice (but you should still get paid for it).

Telling the boss.....

This can be the hardest part of leaving a job for most people and for many the response of your boss can be just as hard. Whether they say, "Oh, OK then...bye" or "Nooooo! Don't leave!", it is going to be an uncomfortable situation.

You should be prepared to discuss your reasons for leaving (it may not be necessary), but do not expect your boss to turn around and offer you a pay increase and better package. In 9 times out of 10, if you quit, then you quit. Threatening to leave is not the way for you to get pay rise!

Why do all this?

Hey, you're leaving right? What do you care if you rattle a few cages doing it?

Well, for one thing, most jobs require a reference from your previous employer and if you can't offer one then you will find it very hard to get a new job.

Another good reason to keep things amicable is that most people will be moving on to another job in the same industry. As years progress you will find out exactly how small a world it is we live in! The person you tell to shove their stinking job where the sun don't shine could, in a few years, be the person you have to deal with for that new business contract.

In the UK at least, employers cannot give you a bad reference. They can however neglect to say certain things and it's the stuff they don't put on the reference that can speak volumes. For example, if they don't say you were reliable and trustworthy, then your future employer may question why.


As one door closes, another opens and all that....

Going for that new job can be the opportunity that changes your life. Just make sure you don't mess it up by saying the wrong thing! You don't know who your boss knows in the industry. You don't know how much influence they have.

In an ideal world, each employer would take us all on our merits and capabilities. But we don't live in an ideal world.

by Alan Howison

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