How to Quit Your Job without Everyone Hating You

I officially resigned last Friday to leave at the end of April! Here are some tips about quitting that worked great for me.

The first step towards quitting your job is an acceptance and understanding that you will inevitably bring about some degree of hatred from your team, but there are a few things that you can do to at least mitigate some of it.

1. Be Honest

I've always believed in the power of honest communication. My mother once told me that disagreements are 80% of the time caused by miscommunication; and that most people have similar opinions about most things. It's likely that if you explain your decision in a sincere and genuine manner that your team would understand where you're coming from. When I told my team my story, my boss understood: "It sucks for us, but I would have done the same thing". 

2. Give Enough Time

Quitting your job is one of those things where it gets exponentially worse the longer you wait. Two weeks is the typical notice period, but giving your team more time to find someone else will not only show that you care and respect your coworkers, but also allow everyone to be as prepared as possible before you leave (so they don't end up working long hours to pick up your slack - and if they do end up having to do that, are at least prepared to do so).

3. Know Your Boss

Remember breaking bad news to your parents in high school? How you would wait for them to be in a great mood before you snuggled up next to them and sandwiched bad news between words of flattery? Life doesn't change much when you get older; your bosses are humans too. Maybe take your boss out to lunch or coffee, where you can set the mood before you tell. Getting away from company grounds will allow more genuine conversation and a sit down lunch will give you time to really explain things. 

4. Involve them in the Decision Making Process

In psychology, researchers found that people come together when they are working towards the same goal. If you can somehow involve your team in the decision making process of how and when you're going to leave, they will feel better and more in control over what is happening (and basically sanction your leave since they were technically, well, involved in the decision). 

5. Manage Expectations and Leave Room for Negotiation

Immediately following the breaking of bad news will be a negotiation period whereby your team tries to keep you for as long as possible while you try to quit as early as you can. If you're planning on leaving in say, 8 weeks, hint at an earlier time like 4-6 weeks. That way, you have plenty of room to compromise and will even appear very willing to do so. 

In conclusion: The more you're able to show your team that you care and respect them, the more likely they will also return the favor. In social psychology terms, this is the rule of social reciprocity. Seems like common sense, but many people assume that their team will never understand and that the team's intentions will most definitely always be in conflict with theirs. It doesn't have to be that way. Find out what concerns them the most about you leaving and help them solve that problem (whether it is helping hire a new person, leaving after an important project, etc.). They will be appreciative of your consideration and be more willing to see things from your perspective, and maybe even be happy for you (and genuinely so)!