How Not To Suck At Quitting Your Job

Originally posted 2014-01-13 06:00:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

See this? Our website? I just want it to suck less. Can you make it suck less? I have a big bag of money for someone that can make it suck less for me. ” – a CTO who shall remain nameless, during a business meeting circa 1999

“And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit.” — Milton Waddams, Office Space

This is a topic that has hit home because within the past year I have left two jobs. In no way, shape or form did I plan this mind you – sometimes things happen, opportunities arise, jobs change drastically…you get the idea.

So we’ve told you how to network, how to find a job, how to deal with people, and even how to handle getting fired.  But we’ve never really talked about quitting a job, and we should, because it matters…

no_suckJob #1: I left like a champ. I called my boss first thing in the morning, explained what was going on, and we went through the proper HR procedures. I then called the national VP, my colleagues and every one of the partners I managed.  Let’s say I did this one right.  They accepted my 2-week notice and I put together a migration plan for my successor.

Job #2: I left like a chump. Partly because I felt slighted, partly because I felt I was sold a bill of goods…but regardless, I didn’t go out on my A-game. I was leaving for vacation on Thursday, so at 5PM the night before I emailed my boss that I was resigning.  He called, we talked it through, and lo and behold, they didn’t accept my 2-week notice and cut me off immediately.  I enjoyed my vacation and when I got back, I called/emailed my team from my personal accounts letting them know I moved on.

I learned a ton from both of those experiences and would now like to share how not to suck at quitting your job.

Don’t use a marching band to quit. No I’m not kidding.  Some guy quit his job and then had an actual marching band follow him out after he told his boss.  Don’t believe me?  There’s video:

Don’t quit via Twitter in Haiku. No seriously. The old CEO of Sun Microsystems literally quit via Twitter…in haiku. “Today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a #haiku. Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more.”

Don’t send an email to “(Company)-all”. I see an email one day, the title is “(Guy) quits HP”, I open it up and it’s in company newsletter format. I then see it’s addressed to “HP-all”. 100k+ employees. Yea, you’re doing it wrong.

The CEO of Groupon failed at this too:” “People of Groupon, after four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding — I was fired today.” Really? Really?

Don’t cause a scene and get yourself on the news. Remember Steve Slater? Probably not anymore, but he was the JetBlue flight attendant that went on a H-bomb rant on the loud speaker, grabbed some beers, and slid down the emergency slide of the plane. I am sure JetBlue would have rather gotten the Tweet.

Don’t be this guy…

Here are some things you should do if you are going to quit:

  1. Either tell in person or call your boss on a Monday or a Friday first thing in the morning.
  2. Have your things ready to hand over immediately.
  3. Make sure everyone you worked with gets a handshake or a phone call. Everyone. Don’t let them find out from co-workers or Linkedin.
  4. Be professional. Don’t talk bad about anything, the company, the customers, etc. What was awful for you, might be perfect for someone else. There is no use in you being a corporate cancer on your way out.
  5. Take the high ground. Thank everyone for the opportunity and the time there.

Again, and we can’t stress this enough, the IT industry is a very, very small world. You never know when people will come back into your life.

That’s all for this time.  Chime in below with your thoughts, and go read something else: or listen to past IT in the D podcast episodes: to get some more helpful advice.

  1. Kevin Turner says

    Another resource for how to quit professionally can be found at It’s a free podcast. There is also one on how to resign if you’re in management.

  2. […] the D to the degree that we are, we wrote in confidence “How not to suck at job search” and “How not to suck at quitting your job”. I have worked tirelessly to build my network, my knowledge base and my sales […]

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