Leaving a Job: 5 Tips for Doing it With Class

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When it’s time to move on…

Several years ago, I left a job I dearly loved.  I was devastated – I had assumed I would retire from that gig.  I assumed I would be appreciated and loved for what I contributed. I assumed that the job and my superiors would recognize and then fulfill my need for personal and professional growth.  I assumed far too much – for when the crap hit the fan, there was no support, there was no rebirth, there was only “no turning back” as I sadly moved on to find my next rainbow.  It was exactly as it was supposed to be.

Though I mourned the loss of that job and a work family I dearly loved, I learned a valuable lesson. Had I not tendered my resignation, the path I ran down would have never been trod. Had I not walked out on that Friday night, never to return – I would have never earned my business degree. Had I not walked arm in arm with my daughter out the door, I would not be where I am today, doing what I do now.

More than One Way

From this painful and mournful experience (and I did mourn for several weeks) I learned that what is supposed to happen always eventually happens. Even when you think you know your own destiny, sometimes a different path is revealed and you discover that there is more than one way to get to Point B. Thank God.

I am the type of person who feels that every job is my last – I jump on board quickly. I embrace the culture and I see where I fit in immediately. I learn as much as I can about my colleagues and how I can bring benefit to their work day, to our place of employment. I am either solving a problem or creating one – I want to solve. I love to work. And I hate to leave. I hate leaving a job I love, but there are times, when it is just time to move on – time to discover the next best step for me… And so must you.

5 Tips for Leaving With Class

Over the years and across the miles, I have discovered a few tips to help you move on from a job you love, and still keep that love in your heart.

It goes without saying that you should always give proper notice. What “proper notice” is for each particular work situation can be determined by consulting your employee handbook or offer letter/hiring agreement. 

1. Never forget the Love-at-First-Sight Moment.  It is easy to get bogged down in the day-in and day-out drudgery of putting in 40 – 50 hours a week, getting everything done that you must.  And in those moments of deep focus and hard work, it is even easier to forget why you loved this job – why you even took  it – to begin with.  When you leave, remember that feeling.  Cherish it.  I will always look back with the greatest fondness on my very first boss. She is still a dear friend… And I consider each subsequent boss the same – yes, even that one.

2. Don’t Burn Bridges.  This is a very tough lesson to learn.  Most of us learn it, at least once.  I had a much-loved job, I left over an ethical issue and I burned a bridge.  The job that should have yielded my best Letter of Recommendation, but instead became a black place in my heart.  Leave a job with the same class you rode in on.

3. Consult your Mentor.  Every job I have had, I identified a mentor  or someone (inside or outside of your place of employment) who would give me an objective opinion on how I was doing my job. When you have made your decision to leave, consult with your mentor. Ask for objective feedback: are you leaving for the right reasons? is there more you can do/give? is it really time to move on?

4. Visit or Call. Whenever you can, show appreciation by checking in.  Let your former boss and former colleagues know that they meant something to you, something to your career. They were, at one time, a very important part of your life.  That doesn’t (shouldn’t) go away.

5. Move On.  Easier to write those two words than to live them.  When you love a job or the people you work with and you have decided to move on, remember why you made that decision. Move on with the same grace that you entered.  This doesn’t mean you can’t visit and you can’t call (see #4) – but it does mean that you don’t stalk them or bad mouth them. Be a grown up.

These are just a few simple tips I have discovered along the way which have help me in that next great job. You can’t excel in the next, by clinging to the last. But you must also give yourself the proper time/chance to mourn the loss of something and the people that you loved.  Now that I think about it, it’s a lot like a broken heart.  Huh.
End well, heal right, succeed next. 


by Rayanne Thorn




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