8 Things to Keep in Mind When It's Time to Quit Your Job

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Today's Question: Sometimes, in order to advance in your career, you'll need to quit a job in favor of a new one. Just because it's necessary doesn't make it any less anxiety-inducing!

How can people quit their jobs with as little stress as possible – and without burning any bridges or harming their careers?

1. Tell Your Boss First

Keep your resignation to yourself until after you've made it official. Nothing burns bridges faster than not adhering to protocol. While you may be overjoyed about your next opportunity and want to share it with your favorite coworkers, you do not want to risk it getting back to your boss or team and catching them off guard. Be patient and follow protocol.

— Angelina Darrisaw, C-Suite Coach

2. Be Professional and Respectful

Don't say anything negative. Thank your boss for the opportunity to work for the organization and for what they have taught you. Leave on good terms and don't burn any bridges. You will likely need them as a reference down the road. You may want to keep the boss as part of your network.

— Stacy Pursell, The Pursell Group

3. Maintain Your Professionalism Outside of the Office, Too

Professionalism extends to your discussions with others and your social media sites. Do not badmouth the company and its management staff. Doing this simply makes you look like a disgruntled employee. It can be a small world out there. You never know where your next job opportunity may come from in the future. Professionally speaking, it's a wise move to keep your motives and reasons for quitting to yourself.

— Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Feather Communications

4. You Don't Need to Justify Your Decision

Just rip the Band-Aid off. Don't beat around the bush or try to find the perfect thing to say. Don't try to over-explain or give unnecessary details. Simply express that you are giving your notice and offer a brief reason why (new job, moving, launching your own business, etc.). Be respectful, thank them for the experience, and stay positive and confident. Don't feel compelled to overshare.

Part of what causes anxiety is that we feel we'll have to explain ourselves or justify our decisions. But there is no need. You've made the decision you've made for the reasons you've made it, and those reasons aren't anyone else's business. Everyone will be okay.

Focus simply on the fact that you're giving notice, how much time you're giving, and how you'll work to make it a smooth transition. Putting the focus on them and the business will help take the pressure off you. Once the Band-Aid is off, everyone will feel better!

— Rebecca Vertucci, Vertucci Career Academy

5. Preserve the Relationship

One of the principles of theater improvisation that we use in our work is: It's never about the thing. It's always about the relationship.

There are lots of reasons people quit: new opportunities, hating the boss, changing home or health, pay, not liking the work. There are lots. Whatever the reason for leaving your job, that's not the real topic of conversation with your supervisor when you tell them you're leaving. That's not what's at stake.

What's at stake is the relationship. Make the conversation about them. Help them feel as good as possible about the move. Don't be fake or untruthful. Do express gratitude. Whatever else may be true about your time there, you had a paycheck and an opportunity to make a contribution.

When I left a job because I couldn't stand being demeaned by my boss every day, here's what I truthfully said when I told her I was going: "I've decided to move on. We both know neither one of us has been satisfied with the way things are going. I truly appreciate the opportunity to serve your customers for as long as I have. They're great. I'll miss them. It's a great product you're giving them. I know you'll keep that up. I wish you the best."

Relationship preserved, and I got what I needed – out.

— Aaron Schmookler, The Yes Works

6. Strike a Power Pose

First, relax. Life will go on for both of you. Second, before going in to give notice, power pose. Get your confidence biologically boosted by doing "the Superman" in a bathroom stall for 3-5 minutes. Watch Amy Cuddy's TED Talk for more info.

— Danny Zoucha, DannyZoucha.com

7. Help the Company Wrap Up Your Projects

Offer to be available for questions and tying up loose ends even after you've left. This doesn't mean you should volunteer to work extra hours working for a company you no longer work for, but if you can help in small ways and get things wrapped up neatly, your ex-boss will really appreciate the effort.

— Geoff Scott, Resume Companion

8. Stay Committed to the End

Give your job 100 percent – no more, no less. After announcing your resignation, avoid the temptation to mentally check out. People will notice how you behave when you no longer have any skin in the game, and this often ends up becoming your lasting legacy. Treat your job seriously and stay focused on delivering results all the way until the very last day.

— Joseph Liu, Career Consultant and Host of Career Relaunch