My Boss Is a Snake. What's the Best Way to Quit?
Here's how to walk out the door without burning your bridges -- and what to do if you get a counteroffer.
After you've spoken to your boss, hand him a signed letter of resignation. "Although it is the least important part of the process, it establishes your end date," notes Hardie. "And it remains in your personnel file." Because this letter becomes part of the permanent record of your employment at this company, it should be short and if not sweet, then, at least not bitter. Keep it brief and reasonably upbeat something like: "I am resigning from XYZ Corp. effective (insert date here), which is two weeks from today. In the meantime, I will work to transition my responsibilities smoothly and productively." That assumes, of course, that you're willing to do that. Then say something like: "I appreciate the professional and personal growth opportunities provided during my time here. I'm proud of the things we have accomplished, and I wish you and the company continued success in the future." Obviously, your opinion of your boss's reptilian qualities need not be mentioned.
What if your employer makes you a counteroffer, holding out more money or even a promotion, if you stay? "It can be flattering," says Hardie, "but there are three problems. First, where was that raise or that promotion before? Is the company truly acting in your best interest, or have they just realized it will be inconvenient, and probably expensive, to replace you?" The second problem is, if you do take the counteroffer, "Things are never the same. Quitting once suggests you'll do it again someday. You'll be watched more suspiciously, and you may not be part of the long-term plan." And third, let's face it: If you're miserable enough now to quit, how likely is it that more money, or a fancier title, will change that?
Watch what you say about quitting. Word gets around, Hardie notes, so if you've told your boss you're leaving to take a great new job, don't tell your co-workers that you're fleeing because the boss is a creep. "Stick to your story, and keep it positive," Hardie says. "At the exit interview, you can suggest ways to improve, but don't 'flame' your boss." And do take the time to say good-bye. "You've shared many experiences with the people in this company, and some of them may have taught you a lot. So let them know where you're going, mention your good memories, and say 'thank you,' " suggests Hardie. "It's the right thing to do -- and it's a small world. You may work with some of them again someday, and you may want them to be references for you in the future."
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