“There’s a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over — and to let go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its value.”

~~  Ellen Goodman


The days of job stability and corporate loyalty are fading and the days of job fluctuation and mobility have taken course. Leaving your job in a way that is both respectful to your employer and conducive to your resume is hugely important. It is also a wise career move to plan a graceful exit.

Though, the reasons for leaving a job may vary from person to person and at times you may have the urge to simply throw your computer at the wall and bolt out the door, but obviously leaving in a tactful manner is much wiser. There are a couple steps you can take to make the most of leaving your job and actually gain something from the experience.


Carefully Evaluate the Reasons

Why is it exactly that you are leaving your job? You should carefully evaluate the reasons for which you want to quit your job. Be clear and honest with yourself about those reasons. The first step in the process is examining why are you are ready to leave your current position internally.

  • Are you bored with your work?
  • Have you reached what you believe is the highest level of success in your position?
  • Do you have a better option awaiting you?
  • Is it none of these things?

One thing that you should level with yourself about is whether you believe your job is making you unhappy or not. Sure, a bad position or a difficult boss can make for a truly challenge either hours of work. However, a job can’t make you happy. If you’re leaving your job because you think a new job will make you happy, you may run into some issue. Yes, a job can make an individual unhappy, but no new position is going to magically make you happy.


Once you understand your own reasons for leaving, you can figure out the reasons you want to give your employer. “Why?” is the inevitable question, so be sure to have something in mind.


Showing Respect

The best way to leave your job on good terms is to not do things in haste. Whether you like it or not, your current employer is an important target for your resume, references, and recommendations. For this reason and out of general respect, you should take measures to leave on good terms. Give your employer proper notice of your exit. While two-week notice is the general norm, you should think about the actual position you are leaving.


You might find this article helpful: Saying Goodbye to Work – The Right Way


About how long does this type of position take to fill? If you know that it will be a more difficult position to fill, consider giving your employer an extended notice. This shows a level of respect for both your employer and for the position you hold—something that both your current employer and future employers may take notice of. You may also want to consider offering to train your replacement. This can be a great way to ensure strong recommendations from that employer and is a nice addition to your resume (training experience is always a plus).


Leaving your first real job can be a very challenging and nerve-racking experience. Of course, as recent college graduates in today’s economy, we’re glad to have any position offered to us. Employment is a blessing not everyone is capable of claiming. However, changes do happen and quitting is a necessary step at times. While this decision is a big one whether you are a recent college graduate finding your footing in the working world or a 20 year veteran of professional experience, leaving a position can be done in a way that is both graceful and productive.


About the guest post author:

Maria Rainier is a freelance blogger and writer for onlinedegrees.org. Maria believes that online degrees and online universities are the future of higher learning. She is interested in all things concerned with higher education and is particularly passionate about life after college. Please share your comments with her.