Your twenties are meant for exploring, finding out what makes you happy, and making mistakes along the way. That is why when it comes to jobs, you may feel like they’re lasting less than most of Kim Kardashian’s decisions. It’s perfectly normal to seek new business ventures, change your mind, and grow out of jobs as you grow your resume.
If your current workplace makes you feel stifled, mistreated and overlooked, you may feel tempted to make an exit that will compensate for the abuse. What you may not realize is your next job will depend on the recommendations made by your current boss, however inadequate you think that person may be. And if some of your co-workers have become your friends IRL, you will need their support during the transition phase. This world is not as big as you think it is. Suddenly, the person who used to answer phones next to you when you worked at that awful office becomes your supervisor when you land your dream job.
Have you been planning your own version of Obama’s mic drop moment at the last White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Before you start working on the perfect way to roast your co-workers before you leave, consider these surefire ways that will burn a bridge:
1. Quit via text (or through social media)
No one likes to be blindsided by decisions that can affect an entire workplace. Even if you think your tasks are menial, they form part of a larger infrastructure. If your boss finds out through a text message that you won’t be coming in again ever, you will have burned a bridge. Instead, announce your intentions to leave properly and with ample time to find a replacement.
2. Annoy everyone with your newfound optimism
If you start broadcasting how much better your life will be now that you’re leaving, everyone will hate you. Honor the time you spent at this job, regardless of how unhappy you may have been, and honor the people you worked with. Sometimes it requires feigning regret, so practice the disappointed face emoji in the mirror often.
3. Leave no trace of your existence
Chances are, if you are a somewhat decent employee and a generally pleasant human being, you are leaving behind people who care. Say thank you to the person who trained you, send a mass email providing your new professional contact information should anyone need to reach you, and make your last day memorable.
4. Leave a messy trail behind you
The final days before leaving a job are similar to the last days of senior year. You’re on a buzz. You want to have fun, make memories and say many goodbyes. The last thing on your mind is that project you have pending. But the last thing people say and do are usually the first things we remember. Leaving without tying up all your loose ends will undo years of hard work in everyone’s mind.
5. Sabotage your replacements
Meeting the new you at the office may feel awkward and let’s be honest, it will sting. It’s almost like meeting your S.O.’s next partner before you’ve even broken up. That doesn’t give you the right to sabotage them or your former employer. Be kind and helpful. Provide tips in writing that they can refer to and introduce them to your mentor.
Slay Your Exit Strategy
The most important thing when leaving a job is mastering the exit interview. If you aren’t offered one, ask for it. This is your last chance to have a professional conversation with your boss. That does not translate to a rant session. Instead, make a list of all of the company’s strengths and your supervisors’ virtues. Be sure to commend more than condemn. Do not allow your emotions to dull your hearing, there will be constructive criticism that will make you a better employee at the next job. This is your final opportunity to leave the door open should you need to come back, and in my experience there is always that one job from your twenties you’ll want to return to.
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