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How to exit your job professionally

05 November 2015, 16:46 Biko Rading

There comes a time in someone’s career life when they have to part ways with their current employer, not retirement but moving on in your career life.

The BIG Question is, how do we do it?

According Dr Hazel Gachunga, a human resource expert and a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology and Agriculture (JKUAT), leaving a job is a process filled with questions of professional courtesy.

Should one give two weeks' notice? Do you have to tell your employer in person? Should you notify your co-workers? A slighted employee may decide to sacrifice the stellar reputation he or she has built in exchange for a grudging departure that violates professional etiquette.

These are the steps that Dr Gachunga suggests one can follow to ensure their exit is a smooth one:

1. Notify your boss in person

The type of organization you work for and position you hold may dictate how you break the news to your boss.

She suggests that one should schedule a meeting and let the boss know in person.

It will in fact earn better impression and it shows respect, self-confidence and bring out the strong interpersonal skills of an individual.

2. Give plenty of notice

Giving a two-week notice is the recognized norm. It's also a positive way to jumpstart the transition process, says Dr Gachunga.

For employees with a position that requires a specialized skill set, it's recommended to give more advanced notice.

“In some cases, they may be the only ones with the knowledge of the area they're handling, and if they give a little longer notice, they might be able to transition that knowledge before departing,” says Dr Gachunga.

3. Don't feel obligated to explain your reason for leaving

According to Dr. Gachunga, there are clauses in a contract than are abiding when it comes to switching a career such as barring a non-compete clause in your contract or a counteroffer situation, one doesn't have to give the company detailed reasons for their departure.

But if one has a sociable relationship with their boss, they may want to offer constructive criticism on what the organization can do to improve or retain employees. However, if the comments could cause backlash, it's best to avoid specifics, adds Dr Gachunga.

Read Also: Mistakes job seekers and recruiters make when hiring

4. Avoid emotional outbursts

Launching into an outburst against your boss may provide some momentary bliss, but it can haunt you later.

His or her endorsement may be critical in helping you land future jobs adds Dr.Gachonga.

5. Don't leave your employer in a bind

You may be eager to start your new job in two weeks, but with a company project in the final stages and your boss in need of your expertise, you may need to stay longer.

Early in the courting process, let prospective employers know you may need more time before starting.

"It's always much better to be upfront in the beginning of the interview process," Dr Gachunga says, especially when many companies have the expectation that new hires only need two weeks before jumping ship.

6. You want everyone to be a positive reference

Satisfied that your listed reference from the company holds you in high regard, you may become unconcerned with the opinions of other colleagues, disregarding office protocol on matters such as arriving on time or preparing for meetings.

But it's important to leave a good impression behind with everyone you interact with.

Employers can use avenues like social media to find non-listed references "because they expect that a supplied reference is always going to give them a positive, endorsement,” adds Dr. Gachonga.

And one needs to base their tame performance during the final weeks, he or she may paint an unflattering portrait.

7. Keep colleagues in the loop

Co-workers you've known for years merit a heads up about your decision rather than the sight of an empty desk and days of speculating about what happened to their colleague.

In an announcement email, write about your positive experiences working for the company and avoid trashing it.

"Always take the high road, and be as positive as a possible when writing the email," Dr Gachonga adds.

Show gratitude toward the most influential. While you may have worked well with everyone, one or two individuals may have been instrumental in helping you achieve success. Verbally thank them or write a personal notes describing how the working relationship positively benefited you, Dr Gachonga recommends.

If the relationship between you and your boss was strained, pen a note that finds the silver lining.

"Even if it wasn't the most ideal situation or a fabulous boss, just be positive in the letter," Dr Gachonga alludes.

You don't need to lie or go overboard, but show your appreciation. Protocol could cost one the respect of colleagues and remove your boss from your reference list.

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- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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