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How to Exit a Job While Preserving Your Reputation

As you get ready to leave your job, you’re probably going to be equal parts excited and nervous. While your boss won’t be thrilled to hear of your departure, a carefully choreographed exit prevents you from burning bridges and leaving your co-workers in a jam as you go. Here are some tips for exiting your current position gracefully, with your reputation in tact:

Give plenty of notice

Regardless of how great or awful your boss was to you, you owe them the courtesy of two weeks notice. This helps them to get your replacement trained and to make arrangements for your departure. If you simply don’t have two weeks notice to give, offer as much advance warning as you can.

However, be prepared that your boss may ask you to leave as soon as you announce your resignation. While this is unfortunate, it’s a risk you have to take in order to avoid leaving your co-workers high and dry as they try to pick up your slack. In most cases, though, your employer will allow you to work out your two weeks.

Make a list of everything you do in that role

Particularly if you’ve been with the company for a while, you need to make the transition as easy as possible. Your manager and colleagues may have a vague idea about your daily duties, but may not know the extent of your responsibilities. To make sure that nothing falls through the cracks as you leave, it’s a good idea to jot down the tasks that you attend to on a daily basis. Also make note of any short or long-term projects you’re involved with. This makes it easier to figure out exactly who will be taking over when you leave, allowing the company to continue to honor commitments to clients and business partners as they transition.

Don’t let your boss find out from someone else

It doesn’t matter how close you feel to your colleagues, never reveal that you’re leaving before you tell your boss. They may accidentally let it slip, and then your boss has to find out from a secondhand source. As soon as you know that you’ll be leaving the company, schedule a time to chat with your boss to inform them about your impending departure.

Though the conversation may be a difficult one, don’t opt to do it over text message or e-mail. Deal with the brief awkwardness and let them know face-to-face. However, once this meeting has concluded, it is always wise to put your last date in writing so no one forgets and gets caught off guard.

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.

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