Things you should and shouldn't say when you quit your job

Quitting your job can seem as awkward and as difficult as ending a romantic relationship. It is always harder when the decision is not mutual.

Before you quit, you need to ask yourself: Is this the right decision to make? You might want to write down a list of pros and cons about your current role. Once you are quite sure that quitting your job is the right thing to do, here are some ways to ensure a graceful and professional “I Quit” conversation with your boss.

1. Always prepare your speech before speaking to your boss. The best place to talk should be a private setting where you can freely express yourself. Most people are nervous during, or feel regret after their resignation because they weren’t prepared for what their boss was going to say to them. Do not resign during a heated argument. Preparation will help you remain calm and rational during the conversation.

2. Explain that your move has to do with your career aspirations. To avoid burning bridges, you should avoid complaining about your company. Even though the reason could be you are not compensated fairly or you have no career advancement. It’s best to say positive words and express gratitude towards your boss by thanking them for the training and what you have learned. It is also important to be firm and acknowledge that your decision of leaving is confirmed.

3. How to answer the “Where are you going?” question. You should be honest but remember you do not need to give all the details. For example, you can tell them you are going to a competitor but need not disclose the new company’s name and your new salary figure. This way you can avoid leaving room for company to negotiate.

4. Should you take a counter offer? It is rare for a counter offer to be successful in the long run. Most of the candidates I know who have accepted an attractive counter offer still consider leaving the company in 6 – 12 months. That’s mainly because the factors that made them want to leave the company don’t often change. Accepting a counter offer can also jeopardise your situation given not only your boss, but your other team mates may have known you already had one foot out the door. It is normal that people would question your loyalty.

5. Remind yourself the reasons for leaving. It is easy to remember all the good times in the company and other reasons you should stay. Especially when your boss is sitting in front of you telling how much he needs you and appreciates your hard work. However, you should keep in mind why you went looking for a new job in the first place – was it for a change in job responsibilities? Better work-life balance or a higher level position? Or were you motivated by remuneration? You do not need to hate your current job to leave for a better one.

6. The market is small and this is not the end of your work relationship. Many of my candidates are still in touch with their ex-bosses and maintain a good relationship. If you handled your resignation gracefully you may still have opportunities to work together again in the future.

It is never easy to have the “I quit” conversation but once it’s done, that anxiety you felt is going to be replaced by happiness and relief.