Quitting a job is a stressful event, regardless of how ready you are to move on to something else. The balance of making the transition smooth and efficient for the company while tending to your own career needs is a challenge because you don't want to burn any bridges. Making the transition smooth is also important, because any company you approach in the future, including previous employers, will consider how you handle the transition an indicator of your professional prowess.
Give Notice Verbally First
Give your notice verbally before you give it in writing. Receiving a letter of resignation without any preparation can make a manager feel blindsided and can damage a working relationship. Taking a few minutes to have a conversation before handing in your letter of resignation is a sign of respect that will be appreciated, even if in the moment the manager feels hurt or angry.
Keep Reasons Vague
Do not use your letter of resignation or verbal notification as an opportunity to share in detail any grievances or issues you have with the company or your manager. If the boss asks for an explanation, keep your response vague and make it about you, not the higher-ups. This will go a long way to keeping the relationship amicable during and after the transition.
Be Mindful of Timing
Refrain from contacting a previous employer and expressing interest in returning to work for him until after you've given your official letter of resignation to your current employer. Speaking with another company, even one you're familiar with, before you notify your current employer can be perceived as a sign of disloyalty or egregious self interest that may leave your prospect wondering if you would shop for a new position behind his back, as well.
Stay Engaged Until the End
Follow through on any obligations or job responsibilities you have with your current employer until the end of the very last day. Your new employer will observe your conduct during your last two weeks as an indicator of how you manage responsibility and honor commitments, even if you've already secured the next job.
Nacie Carson is a professional development speaker and author who focuses on career evolution, entrepreneurship and the Millennial work experience. Carson's writing has been featured in "Entrepreneur," "Fast Company," "Monster" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul." Her book on adapting your career to the changing job market, "The Finch Effect," was published with Jossey-Bass in May 2012.