6 Tips for Leaving a Company Without Burning Bridges

By Chelsea Babin

It’s time for you to pack up your desk and move on to the next great career opportunity. Whether you love the job you’re leaving or you’ve hated it since day one you don’t want to leave your current company in a state of scorched earth. Instead, take heed of these 6 tips that will help you quit your job gracefully without burning bridges along the way.

1. Ample Notice: Giving two-week’s notice is customary and polite. Giving more than that is exemplary. Giving less than two week’s notice could put you in the scorched earth scenario you’re looking to avoid. Employers need some time to fill your shoes and while two weeks or more may not cut it, that little bit of notice and runway will be much appreciated and help make their transition smoother.

2. Document and Instruct: If you do a lot of your work independently or you’re the only one in the office who knows how to do a certain thing make sure you take some time to document your processes or instruct a coworker before you leave. The last thing you’d want to do is leave everyone in the lurch because you left without explaining how you do xyz.

3. Moving On Lunches and Meetings: From leaving one job to transitioning to a new job, you’ll be incredibly busy during this time in your life. However, if you want to avoid burning bridges, don’t turn down the opportunity to have one last lunch with your coworkers or attend one last meeting with your team. These events give everyone the proper time to say goodbye before you move on and they’re a great place to plan how you’ll stay in touch after you’ve transitioned to a new job. After all, one of the best ways to build a professional network is to stay in touch with the people you’ve already worked with and know well!

4. Only Advise Management if They Ask: Not all management or owners will want your advice and none of them will want your “stick it to the boss” moments. Try to keep emotion out of it if you’re asked for feedback and only give criticism that’s constructive. While finally telling off a coworker or boss you didn’t get along with might feel great in the moment it will almost certainly burn bridges.

5. Try Not to Peter Out: One of the worst things you can do is give two or more weeks notice and then do very little to no work during your final few weeks. Although the two weeks’ notice has become standard courtesy, very few people keep in mind the reason why. They’ll need you to stay around and finish off big projects or leave them in a good state for someone else to take over. They’ll need you to continue to work so your coworkers don’t have to start picking up the slack before you’ve even gone. Try not to peter out and finish your working career in this position strong if you want to avoid creating resentment and burning bridges.

6. Leave Good Contact Information: Whether you’re moving far away or staying in the same location and simply switching jobs, leave your former employers and coworkers good contact information for you. If they have any questions about one of your former projects or simply want to stay in touch, they’ll know where to find you. This is one of those personal touches that makes you look like a class act on your way out the door and certainly helps you strengthen your connections right before you’re a bit distanced (due to the fact that you won’t see each other five days a week anymore).

It’s time to say goodbye to your current job and say hello to a new one! And while you probably have been preparing for this moment since your job search began, keep these 6 tips in mind if you don’t want to burn bridges on your way out of your current position. The connections you made in your soon-to-be-former job could really benefit you later on in your career so it’s important to stay connected and avoid any potential resentment caused by your quitting. Good luck in your transition to your next job!