Whether you're moving on to a greater opportunity or leaving because you're totally fed up, the time will come when you have to quit your job. It can be stressful and scary, so preparation is key. Here, entrepreneur Akhil Gupta shares his tips on leaving the right way, from the employer's point of view.
Image via Daniel Schweinert (Shutterstock).
Last week there was a great "Ask HN" on Hacker News where the person asking stated that he'd decided to move on to a new job. Since it was his first job switch, he wasn't well aware of the whats, hows and whens of quitting and hence, he turned to the community to guide him. I was really happy to see that there are people who want to go through the exit process gracefully and amicably, but some of the recommendations were inclined towards "Screw Employer, Save Yourself". I found it kind of disturbing to see this sentiment, as this is something that's going to affect the both of you. It's important that both parties be considered when making such decisions. Here are a few points about how I expect (or would appreciate) you to quit if you were my employee.
Tell me as early as possible
This is true no matter how big or small your employer is. The earlier you tell us, the more time we get to make a proper exit plan for you and ensure that things that follow go smoothly. Hasty exits often leave a bad taste in the mouth. Often people blame the employers for putting obstacles in the leaving process, but in most cases it is just because they had not given enough time to the employer to process everything. If you leave a small company of five people, you need to realise that they are losing 20 per cent of their workforce. They need time.
Finish what you have started
This is true for everyone, but it's exceptionally important for someone who is planning to quit. If you're at a crucial position, handling various projects, and managing teams, it's expected that you either wind up all your projects or give a complete and smooth transition to someone. I would appreciate if you could help me by recommending who you think should be given the project after you leave.
Don't slack around
It is extremely unfortunate that some people simply turn their "work mode" off as soon as they put in their papers and just sit around doing nothing until the final day comes. This "why should I work when I am on my notice period" is actually a major setback to your image. If the transition is complete and there's nothing going on which requires you, instead of sitting around all day diluting the work environment of the office, simply ask your employer to relieve you early. I'm sure they will oblige. I know that I would.
Complete the paperwork
Let me tell you something. I don't like all of the paperwork and processes that I have to maintain as an employer. They irritate me as much as they irritate you. Yet it's due to compliance that these are pushed into my throat, which in turn I forward to you. Please complete all the formalities. There was a suggestion in the HN thread that you don't sign exit papers as it indemnifies the employer. I find it extremely specific and harsh.
No outbursts please
Every now and then you come across a viral video of someone quitting by making a scene or writing a very unprofessional letter. I know bosses are not perfect. I know I'm not. You could have the right reasons to try to humiliate your boss or at least express your anger — but still, please don't. You need to know this hurts you a lot more than it will hurt us. As long as an employer is offering a position and money he will always find people willing to work for him. You on the other hand could face issues with your next employer if he finds out that you have the ability to do such a thing. Please don't think that this is a threat — it's the truth and the way things work. You'll be an internet hero for a few days but then you have to go back into the job market.
Give honest feedback
Sometime people leave because they aren't happy. At that point I would want to know what I could have done to have avoided your discomfort. I run a small team and I can't afford to neglect anyone's comforts and concerns. I'm willing to change/update my policies and attitudes if that helps make my team happier and more productive. Don't lie to me in the exit interview and only say nice things because people say that saying bad things in exit interviews is wrong. Tell me what you actually felt. As I said in one of my earlier posts — Employees deserve feedback. Well so do the bosses.
Stay in touch
Remember, I considered you a friend. And you, my friend, will be missed. It makes me very happy when my colleagues (employees) move on to better jobs and ventures after gaining a lot of experience with me. I take pride in the fact that association with me and my company added some value to your life. People will come and they will leave but the time that was spent with them and the experience that was gained will always stay.
How to Quit Your Job: An Employer's Opinion [Akhil Gupta]