How to Make a Graceful Exit Without Burning Bridges

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Whether you’re actively seeking change or an unexpected offer comes your way, a new job is an exciting opportunity. Of course, you still have to take care in the way you handle your departure from your current position, as this can determine the nature of your relationship with your current manager, coworkers, and the company going forward.

The fact is, you never know when you may need to call upon those from your past. That’s why it’s always wise to make a graceful exit, whenever possible. Remember, your current position will become a part of your work history, which will likely be taken into consideration for any future career opportunities that come up. So, how can you ensure you keep strong relations going? Here are some tips for making a professional, respected exit:  

  • Give Proper Notice – While two weeks’ notice is generally considered the standard, it’s best to give one month for those in professional fields. This allows for plenty of time to hire a replacement, get them up to speed, and allow for a smooth transition for all. You don’t want to leave managers and coworkers in a difficult position, struggling. 

  • Offer Training – Don’t waste your final days. Be professional, and let managers and coworkers know that you’re willing to help train others. Employees willing to assist with their transition out leave a positive, lasting impression, which may prove valuable in the future should you ever need assistance, like a recommendation. 

  • Serve as a Resource – If possible, offer to remain a resource for a brief period of time after your transition out. A willingness to help even after you’re off the payroll will go a long way toward showing former employers that you’re still a team player. 

  • Keep in Contact – Make an effort to stay in touch with former coworkers. Should there ever come a time when you need a coworker’s referral, business lead, advice, etc., they’ll be more inclined to help if you’ve remained in touch.  

Remember, don’t neglect your past. You never know when your career may come full circle, so don’t burn those bridges.