Knowing When to Move On Without Burning Bridges
Has the day come when you know you simply can’t keep the job you have? What do you do to protect your present and your future? As with a love affair on its way out of your life, it’s important to think, plan and act. Keep this in mind—unlike leaving a lover, it’s seldom advisable to leave a job unless you have something else lined up. Land a new job, then consider these tips for knowing when to walk and how to keep your stellar reputation.
Figuring Out When to Walk
1. If you drag your butt out of bed each morning and dread the prospect of going to work, it’s probably way past time to move on. Start making plans. You don’t want to make a snap decision that brings your final paycheck before you’re ready to transition into something way cooler.
2. If your pay is as static as a sock stuck to a sweater, you probably need to try something else. The economy is slow, but people are still being rewarded for work done well.
3. Move on if you’re going nowhere you want to go—you’re doing the same job you’ve done for years, and everyone else has moved on.
4. If the most creative thing you’ve done in months has been shaping a paperclip into a clever weather vane, you’re a candidate for scoping out new prospects.
5. Your boss refers to you as that person over there? Find a new boss.
6. It’s time to go if you do high-quality, on-time work, and the only person who gets an attaboy or attagirl is your boss.
Leaving With Graceful Dignity, All Bridges Intact
1. Create an action plan. Figure out what’s wrong with the job, why you’re unsatisfied. As you seek a new position, make sure you don’t slide into the same issues.
2. Talk with your chain-of-command and determine if there are solutions to be had or it’s hopeless. Never threaten to quit or attempt to extort a raise. Check your attitude at the door and communicate in a professional manner.
3. Make a plan and look for your new job on your own time, not the company’s time. No exceptions.
4. Avoid gossip like the plague. Don’t tell everyone at the water cooler that you’ve had enough and you’re getting out.
5. Give adequate notice. It may be good for the ego to stomp out in high dudgeon, nose in the air and a sneer on your lips, but it may hit you in the backside on your next job, or on some future job. You never know who plays golf with whom, right?
6. Tidy up loose ends. Finish what you’ve begun, project-wise. Don’t leave chaos at your desk, and never, ever sabotage anything for self-satisfaction.
If you cover your bases and make sure you’ve left a situation into which your successor can step without getting a migraine, you’ll be thought of as professional and mature. If you cover your own interests and map your future before severing ties with the present job, you’ll come out OK. You might even find the pot of gold you thought passed you by.