Quitting Time: How to Leave a Job on Good Terms

People voluntarily leave jobs for myriad reasons. Regardless of your reason — whether it’s because another firm recruited you and offered up a higher salary or you simply don’t see a clear career path with your current employer — once you’ve concluded that it’s time to move on, focus on making a graceful exit.

Here are five tips on how to leave a job on the best terms possible:

1. Give enough notice. Follow protocol and tell your manager about your departure first so he or she doesn’t somehow hear the news through the office grapevine. Providing two weeks notice is standard, but if your schedule allows, you might offer to stay on longer to complete any major projects or train a replacement.

2. Finish strong. Don’t mentally check out. Use your last weeks on the job to tie up loose ends on outstanding assignments. Make sure your accounting colleagues have all the tools, access and instructions necessary to complete any work you won’t be able to wrap up. In short, be a diligent, dedicated and highly productive contributor to the end. Leaving behind any messes can tarnish the good professional reputation you worked so hard to establish.

3. Nix the negativity. Even if you’re departing because you’ve grown to dislike your job or boss, express your appreciation for the opportunity to your manager both verbally and in your resignation letter. While getting things off your chest might feel cathartic in the short term, there’s absolutely no upside to burning a bridge.

4. Talk before you walk. Participate in an exit interview with human resources if you’re given the opportunity. Be truthful, but deliver your comments with tact and diplomacy. Your honest feedback and constructive criticism could help to improve the workplace.

5. Leave on a friendly note. During your final week on the job, do some internal networking. Make the rounds to say goodbye to colleagues — even those with whom you didn’t work closely. Say something positive about your experience working with each person, offer to connect on LinkedIn and share your contact information with those coworkers you’d like to stay in touch with most. Remember: You never know whose help or recommendation you might need down the line.