How to leave your job
When should you leave your job?
Firstly, you have to consider your financial stability and employment options - you need to be financially stable to leave your job, and ideally you should have another job to go to.
You should leave your job if you are extremely unhappy in it and you’ve been unhappy in it for a while. I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all have parts of our jobs that we don’t like, but we should aim for about 80% or more satisfaction - I think that’s reasonable.
You should leave your job if the environment is toxic and you’ve tried to make it better.
You should leave you job if you get offered a better opportunity with good conditions in the contract.
What should you do before leaving your job?
Identify what’s not going well in the job to make sure that you don’t transfer the problem to another area. Otherwise, there is a risk that the issue will reoccur.
Consider your manager’s opinion, how you’re performing (well or poorly), what you can improve on in your current role. Resolve contentious issues with colleagues if possible.
Review the risks and opportunities of staying versus leaving. Avoid job hopping (short contracts) if possible, make sure you’re the right match for next organisation.
Ensure, if possible, that you have another role to go to before leaving.
How do you have the conversation with your manager that you’ve decided to leave?
Prepare the conversation that you’ll have with your manager/employer before you hand in your notice. Many people find it tricky to have these direct conversations - they can be difficult or awkward for us.
The important thing is to be firm but polite and clear on your decision. You can’t allow there to be wiggle room.
Be gracious - thank them for the job, the opportunities, training, guidance or support that they’ve given you.
Tell them “I’ve been thinking about this role a lot recently, and I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on”. Tell them you’re going to another position rather than leaving your current position.
If they ask you to stay and you don’t want to stay “thank you for the offer. This hasn’t been any easy decision for me to make, but I believe the best thing for both the company and myself, is that I take on a new opportunity”.
If they say you’ve put them in a difficult position. Acknowledge that they have a difficult job to fill your position, and while you would like to help, you don’t think it would be the most responsible thing to do considering your head/heart isn’t in the role anymore.
Make sure to not add too much extra information for someone to quiz you on and end the conversation by thanking them and telling them that you’ll do what you can to ensure there is a smooth transition for the next employee.
What should you do when going to your next position?
Have a good story for why you left (be positive, be gracious, and be clear), but don’t over elaborate on what happened. That may lead you into being asked difficult questions.
Tell them how you benefited from the position, what you achieved and what your responsibilities were.
Even if it was a nightmare situation, highlight what you learned from it: I learned a lot about communication, I developed my interpersonal skills and I developed my ability to manage competing priorities.