How to Quit Your Job Gracefully

So you’ve done it. After what may have been weeks or months of sneaking out for job interviews and sending follow-up emails to the hiring manager, you’ve gone and gotten yourself a new job. But after the excitement of negotiations and the high of saying “I accept” dies down, a feeling of dread might sink in. Now you have to inform your current employer in a way that keeps all your professional relationships intact and leaves both you and the organization in a good place. How do you do it without feeling awkward or guilty? Here’s how to make your exit the right way.

Telling Your Boss and HR

Once you confirm the details of your offer letter and set a start date (and not a minute sooner), it’s time to tell your manager. Make sure you do this before you tell anyone else in the organization, including your direct reports or close co-workers. “Your boss should be the first to know you’re leaving, and he should be told face to face,” says Nicole Williams, CEO and founder of career consultancy WORKS. Depending on your organization’s policy, you may also have to write an official resignation letter. “Simply state that you’re resigning without listing any reasons and include your end date. Finish with a positive statement about the organization or your experience there,” Williams advises.

Give at Least Two Weeks

In most cases, the standard two weeks is more than enough notice, but be aware that some employers may ask you to leave your position sooner. It’s their prerogative, says Ryan Naylor, CEO and founder of localwork.com, but most will probably want you to complete your last two weeks to wrap up projects and train your replacement, if possible. If you’re in the middle of a particularly important project, you may want to consider giving more time (say, an extra week), assuming your new employer is amenable, to ensure a smooth transition. Remember, “You never want to leave your boss in a bind. You may need to rely on her for a reference in the future,” says career counselor and executive coach Roy Cohen. Same is true for your team members. Dumping a project on them at the final hour isn’t going to help in sustaining future friendships once you’re no longer in the same office.

Telling Your Team

Whether you manage a large group or one person, once your manager has been informed, it’s time to fill in your team. But before you do, make sure you’ve ironed out the details of a transition plan with your supervisor, including who may become their interim boss while the organization searches for a replacement. “The first thing employees will want to know is who they will report to now that you’re leaving,” says Naylor. “Depending on the size of your team and your relationships with each member, talking one-on-one with your reports might be helpful,” Naylor adds. “It can be a very difficult, sad and confusing time for employees when their manager leaves, so addressing them personally and answering any questions they have can be helpful.”

Your Transition Plan

This is a crucial component to making sure you leave your team and organization in the best possible place after your departure. The details of this plan may be covered in the meeting with your boss when you give notice, or in a follow-up meeting. Naylor recommends doing the following to help formulate your plan: > Catalog all your current responsibilities. > Work with your manager to assign those duties to others on your team and perform training as needed. > Determine with your manager how to notify any customers, clients or outside vendors with whom you interact, and introduce them to their new point of contact within your organization. > Organize your digital and physical files and ensure that your team understands your filing system. > Wrap up any lingering projects to the best of your ability. > Help write an accurate job description for your role so your replacement knows exactly what you do. > Help recruit, hire and train your replacement if asked by your manager. Remember, those last two weeks aren’t a time to coast. “As you begin the final countdown to your last day on the job, you may be tempted to cut corners,” says Pamela Eyring, owner of The Protocol School of Washington. “However, adopting this type of attitude can alienate your co-workers. By remaining an active member of the team, you will ensure your reputation remains intact long after you clock out for the final time.” Karell Roxas is executive editor at dailyworth.com. She has spent her career writing about important topics for women and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband. Contact her at karell@dailyworth.com. This article originally appeared on dailyworth.com. Copyright 2015. It has been reprinted with permission from DailyWorth.