How to Quit Your Job & Maintain Relationships

In Career Advice
March 8, 2016

How to Quit Your Job & Maintain Relationships

So, you’re ready to move on to the next opportunity and don’t know how to quit your job without upsetting anyone. Everyone has been there at some point during their career, and while you may feel as though you’re letting your coworkers, management, or organization down, when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.

As much as you may want to completely incinerate the bridges you’ve built while you’ve been with your employer and tell off anyone you’ve had problems with throughout your time with your employer, it’s ultimately best to keep them intact and leave with some dignity. After all, you don’t know who you’ll run into again in the future, especially if you’re in a highly-specialized position. When figuring out how to quit your job, take the following points into consideration.

How to Quit Your Job & Maintain Relationships:

1. Give Your Employer Ample Notice

While the norm across all industries is the 2-week notice, in more highly specialized fields, such as healthcare, its important to provide more time for the employer to plan. Generally speaking, the higher the position, the more notice you want to give. Physicians and surgeons, for example, should provide 1-2 months of notice before their intended departure while nurses should aim for 3-4 weeks.

This also depends on the situation they are facing at the time. Currently, the U.S. is facing a national nursing shortage, so if your hospital happens to be one that is running especially low on nurses, give as much notice as possible to avoid leaving them in the dark.

2. Inform Your Superior(s) in Person

Just as with ending any relationship, it’s best to end it in person, rather than over the phone or email. The latter methods will be perceived as disrespectful and will leave many unanswered questions, painting you as unreliable and unprofessional. It’s key when navigating how to quit your job that you approach the situation directly and professionally.

To ensure you maintain the reputation you’ve built while with your employer, be sure to sit down and answer any questions the may have about your departure. If possible, off any constructive criticism about specific things you believe they can do to retain employees in the future. This, alone, can go a long way to maintain the respect of your immediate supervisors and coworkers. By putting your professionalism, interpersonal skills, and respect to work for you, you can ensure that you leave the best impression possible upon leaving.

3. Keep it Professional, Avoid Emotional Conflict

While you may despise some of the individuals you work for, or with, and sticking it to the man may offers some momentary happiness, it may come back to bite you in the long run. In highly-specialized fields, like healthcare, the odds of running into at least some of the people you’ve worked with in the past are high. Going into some long tirade about the faults of your boss or organization can come back to haunt you in real ways.

First, employers still make reference calls, and some are taking to social media to find former coworkers of candidates and get an initial impression. Also, you never know who you’re going to be working for in the future. It could be your current boss, or it could end up being the one coworker who you just couldn’t walk out the door without giving a piece of your mind. Either way, it’s best to save your frustrations for punching bag or pillow.

4. Coordinate with Your Employer

This one will depend highly on the importance of your current position and the situation your employer is currently in. If you work in a hospital and your organization is experiencing a drastic shortage in your position, it may be best to extend your plans, provide further notice, and stay with them a little bit longer. In doing so, you show that you care about the people you work with and will be recognized for sacrificing some of your time to make the lives of your coworkers easier.

In the same manner, if you’re currently managing a project with your employer or some other large task, avoid leaving for a new position until it is complete. If a key player in a team leaves, it takes more time to fill the void as they have to search for a qualified candidate and subsequently bring them up to speed on what’s going on. This all costs the employer both money and time. Show them respect by fulfilling your end of the deal and completing the project you’re on. Exceptions can be made here for projects that have expansive time frames, so just use your best judgement.

5. Leave Strong

When planning how to quit your job, it’s important to aim to leave on your front foot. Aim to leave when you’ve been performing with strength and have a lot of positive aspects of your employment to reference to future employers. The goal is to build an attractive work history to those that may hire you and the best way to do that is to perform at your best in your current position. This can make an impact on supervisors and coworkers alike if you’re doing such a good job that it takes some of the strain off of them.

6. Show Gratitude to Your Employer & Co-Workers

Be sure that, when you leave, those you’ve been working with know that you’re thankful for the opportunity and the time you spent with them. Talk to those you are closest with in the workplace and let them know how they’ve positively influenced you. You can write an email or leave a letter if speaking to them is not possible since its doubtful you’ll be able to find time to meet each and every person for a one-on-one.

7. Avoid Posting Anything Negative on Social Media

This goes hand-in-hand with launching an emotional tirade in the workplace itself, however, it is probably worse. Employers are increasingly searching for the social media profiles of candidates they’re taking seriously for positions and its an area in which many job seekers make mistakes. People have enough negativity in their lives, from their personal problems to the sensationalism of the national media. Don’t add fuel to the fire with your own rantings that they have no vested interest in.

Employers and coworkers, past and future, may see your posts and it may greatly impact the level of respect they feel for you. At the bare minimum, change your profile settings to the highest level of privacy available and avoid posting things that you have a second thought about.

8. Try to Stay in Touch

Most likely you’ve build close relationships with those you’ve worked closely and your work-friends deserve to know what’s going on, especially if you want to maintain contact in the long-term. Now, more than ever, it’s easier to keep people in the loop using social media. Try to avoid leaving anyone in the dark by notifying them of your decision and building your network on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.


Quitting on good terms is primarily about managing your reputation, essentially public relations. When planning how to quit your job, try to take how the situation will affect those around you in to consideration. The organization or employer needs enough time to fill the void that will be left when you leave, your closest coworkers deserve some notice as you may be working with them in the future or they could even be contacted as reference at some point, and be very wary of what ends up being posted to your accounts online.

All in all, leaving for a new position and maintaining the relationships you’ll be leaving behind is entirely possible with some consideration and mutual respect.

Best of luck in your new position!

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