No matter what your feelings are on your boss or how much you might dislike your job, it is wise to always quit your job graciously. While you may want to air your grievances to your boss when you announce that you are quitting, this is never a good idea – you may need to rely on your supervisor for a professional reference in the future. Even if your boss has treated you very poorly, refuse to sink to their level by leaving in an unprofessional manner.

Determine whether to stay or go

The first thing to consider when leaving a job is whether or not you really should leave. There are times when you may feel like you cannot take another day in your current place of employment, but you should resist making an impulsive decision. You should always have a new job lined up that offers better pay, working conditions, hours, benefits or professional development opportunities.

Communicate your intentions

Once you are sure that you want to quit, you’ll need to let your boss know. Make sure you inform your boss before telling any of your coworkers. It’s a good idea to give the customary two weeks’ notice unless you have a contract that stipulates otherwise. You may also consider giving a longer notice if your position is specialized and is not something that can be replaced easily. Even if you’re sure that your boss will have you escorted out by security as soon as you give your notice, you should still maintain your professionalism by offering a two weeks’ notice.

Unless logistics won’t allow, you should always deliver your notice to your boss in person. Consider it similar to breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend. Breaking up by text or email is really not appropriate just as it is not appropriate to quit by email or phone. The exception is when your supervisor does not work in the same location as you. If this is the case, strive to deliver the news by phone and only resort to email if you are unable to reach your boss by phone on the day you want to give your notice.

Actually having the conversation can be intimidating. Because supervisors can take the news personally, you may feel that it will be extremely uncomfortable, especially for those who avoid confrontation, for those who have grown close to their boss or coworkers, and for those who know they’ll be leaving the company in a tough spot. However, despite the uncomfortable nature of the conversation, it’s best to keep the news brief and professional. There’s no need to start the conversation with aimless chitchat. Simply state that you are giving your notice effective immediately and you plan on leaving in two weeks’ time (or whatever alternative date you’ve decided upon).

You are under no obligation to tell your employer why you are leaving unless you wish to. If you do choose to let your boss know why you are leaving, keep things positive and let them know the good things about your new position rather than getting bogged down by everything you dislike about your current job. If you feel you really need to let your company know some negative things that drove you to resign, ask your human resources department for an exit interview. Here, you can air your grievances without risking damage to your reputation or hurting your prospects for future references.

Follow Up

If you’ve given your notice in person, follow-up your conversation with a note. Keep it short and to the point by stating that you are resigning and the date you plan on leaving. Let your boss know you are willing to assist in a transition plan, whether that will entail training a replacement or handing current projects over to someone else. There’s no need to state how much you hate to leave (especially if it isn’t true), but you can wish the company success in the future.

You may want to ask your boss for a letter of recommendation to use in the future. If you haven’t enjoyed a good working relationship with your supervisor, consider asking another member of management whom you have worked with to write a letter instead.

Inform Co-workers

Finally it’s time to let your coworkers know that you are quitting. Don’t just leave and let them wonder where you’ve gone to. If a replacement isn’t readily available, your coworkers are likely going to have to pick up the slack after you leave so make sure you depart on good terms. Share your personal contact information with anyone you’d like to keep in touch with.

Leaving on a bad note will only make you feel bad so as much as it is in your power, it is important to resign your job in a polite and professional manner. No matter how horrendous your experience has been in your job, it will make you feel good to leave graciously. And if you’ve had the good fortune to enjoy your job and your boss, it’s equally important to know how to leave your position professionally. We have certified career advisers waiting to work with you if you need help with your career transition through our professional career transition services.