It’s over! Here’s how to break up with your boss

You’ve decided to call it quits. It’s not them, it’s you.

There are tears and a final awkward conversation, before you move on to bigger and better things.

A break up is always painful – especially if it’s with your boss and it’ll be even tougher if you are a long-term employee.

If there has been bad blood between you and your employer, you might even get the urge to go out in a blaze of glory, and serve them up some home truths on your way out the door.

Or go out with a bang (and instant internet fame) like Marina Shifrin who last year publicly resigned from Taiwan’s Next Media Animation on you tube in “I Quit” – an interpretative resignation dance video set to Kanye West.

If you aren’t that confident, there’s always an app that’ll quit for you – though this is not recommended.

But cutting ties with your employer doesn’t have to mean internet take-downs, burning bridges or severing the relationships you’ve built over time. No one has time for an acrimonious workplace divorce.

Here’s how to resign in style AND on speaking terms with your boss.

Finish well

It might be tempting to slack off when you are finishing a job, but it won’t do you long term favours.

It took Anthea Cahill five years to finally work up the courage to quit her job to start her own business advising people how to transition to owning their own business.

Andrea Cahill advises people on quitting their jobs.

Anthea Cahill advises people on quitting their jobs.

One of her key pieces of advice is that its important to remain productive even while hatching your escape plan.

“Even if you’re not appreciated or you’re not happy where you are, if you do your best then you can hold your head high and it’s just better for you to leave on that note,” Ms Cahill says.

Once it came time for her to leave, Ms Cahill’s decision to not switch off earned her respect.

“My boss was great; she said I could come back any time, but I was crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t have to.”

So don’t slack off, and definitely don’t take all your sickies in a row.

Don’t get personal

Don’t let leaving your job get personal.

The Big Smoke publisher Alexandra Tselios has dealt with both tantrums and tears in eight years in the public sector – leaving bosses and being ditched by employees.

Ms Tselios, who also has a Masters in Business, advises to hold back the flood of emotion and be detached and professional.

“The moment you start yelling and screaming and throwing a tantrum, people zone out about what you’re saying and you lose that power,” Ms Tselios says.

“Straight away, the person is going to think you’re an idiot. You’re not really able to then go on and make the point of why you were treated badly, or this is why I’m moving on to the next phase of my career.

“I just think throwing chairs out of windows and all that is just unnecessary.”

Explain your reasons

Instead of storming out in a huff after uttering two choice words, whether they be “I quit” or something cruder, it is crucial to have a discussion with your boss, Ms Tselios says.

“Regardless of the reasons you’re leaving, it’s important to have articulated those feelings and explained and been honest about it, but done so in a way that’s professional and detached, and not in a way that’s dramatic and overly emotional and confrontational in a way that’s going to be basically mar your history in that place,” she says.

Put it in print

Put your resignation in writing.

Put your resignation in writing.

Put it in writing, recommends Steven Lopez who recently quit his job of three years at an IT company to work for a competitor.

“Write a nice resignation letter and hand it in at an appropriate time to the right person,” Mr Lopez, who quit for new challenges, says.

This letter should include things like what you’ve achieved and learned, as well as general feedback for your employer – such as carefully worded suggestions on how they could improve.

It worked for Mr Lopez. He still catches up with his former boss.

Zip the lip

While communication with your boss is key, don’t discuss it beforehand with your colleagues.

The potential office gossip could jeopardise your chances of being offered enticements to stay such as a raise or a new role and will leave a bad taste in your boss’ mouth if you do leave.

“People talk and if management hears it before you have a chance to speak to them first, it can [reflect] really poorly on you,” Mr Lopez says.

“At that stage rather than feel they are losing an asset, it’s like they are getting rid of a problem.”

Don’t leave a mess

In your last weeks it’s important not to burden your replacement with a ream of unfinished tasks. That is a sure-fire bridge burner.

Instead, leave an organised to do list of what is pending or outstanding – and try not to leave the “too hard basked” over-flowing.

Keeping both your previous employer and your new replacement happy is sure to help your reputation stay intact.

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