HOW to Quit your Job Elegantly

Attrition (Workforce Reduction)
Knowledge Center


Devayani Vyavaharkar
Student (University), Germany

HOW to Quit your Job Elegantly

Is it time to turn the page and start a new chapter? Looking for a well-paying job, pursuing higher studies, longing for a different work environment or a need for work-life balance are considered some reasons why employees quit their former jobs.
But the decision to quit your job must be made with utmost care and consideration. Although you may not be able to control others' reactions or the additional pressures your team might face after declaring your decision, there are a few steps that you can take to quit your job without burning bridges.

"Burning your bridges" refers to an action that destroys even the slightest probability of returning things to the way they were previously. For instance, an employee decides to leave his former job and expresses resentment towards his boss while conversing with him. Thus, the employee has burned his bridges and damaged his relationship with his superior, which cannot be woven back again. If the same employee doesn't find his new work appealing enough, there will be no chance that he will be able to return to his former workplace or get good recommendations. How to avoid you burn your bridges:
  1. CONVEY YOUR DECISION PROMPTLY: Most superiors prefer that their employees keep them informed regarding their decision to quit well in advance. However, employees may resist informing their bosses regarding their decision since it will likely strain the stressful work environment. The employee hopes for the situation to improve while working; this may take a toll on the employee's mental and emotional well-being. When an employee delays announcing one's resignation, one is likely to experience the guilt of leaving and endeavor to find reasons to stay. Since the conditions at work are not likely to change, it results in growing feelings of resentment towards coworkers, superiors, and subordinates.
  2. BE FIRM, RATHER THAN ENRAGED AND UNCERTAIN: The past period of working remotely (due to the pandemic) have made many employees feel unacknowledged, burned out, and overwhelmed with work. Despite this, it is recommended to keep oneself calm and poised while communicating one's decision to quit. This leaves no space for misunderstanding and confusion. Any sign of frustration or anger may give your superiors a reason to make you stay by assuring you that "this can be fixed in some manner." Similarly, statements such as "this will be a tough decision" or "I am not sure what I will do next" reflect uncertainty regarding the employee's choice. Your supervisor might notice the room to change your mind and try to convince you to stay.
  3. GEAR UP FOR CONTRASTING REACTIONS: Employees will receive diverse reactions from their supervisors once they announce their decision regarding leaving the workplace. Some bosses may consider this an act of treason for all the opportunities and perks given to you. In such circumstances, one must avoid blaming the boss for being the reason why one is quitting. It might lead one to lose a connection or make one's boss say unkind words regarding you. Avoid damaging your relationship with your current employer while looking for new job opportunities since some employers call former employers to check references.
    On the contrary, sound grateful for the things you learnt, the relations you developed, and all the opportunities that came your way. Employees might be asked to stay longer by their supervisors. In such cases, remain flexible and try to postpone your departure date by negotiating with the organization where you will be working next.
  4. DON'T BE PRESSURED BY OTHERS' REACTIONS: Your coworkers and colleagues might feel upset due to your decision. Similarly, your supervisor may feel angry and make you feel guilty and remorseful. Nevertheless, make sure you remain firm and confident with your decision. Express gratitude to your coworkers for being able to work with them and being able to learn from them. Try coordinating with supervisors and colleagues on how you will be able to tie up loose ends. Make sure to make the transition easier and comfortable for the one who will take the job after you leave.
  5. ONE'S REPUTATION IS INDEPENDENT OF ONE'S DECISIONS: Lastly, the decision of quitting a job may make an employee fearful of damage to one's reputation. However, an employee's reputation is not dependent on the decision one takes. It is solely dependent upon the accomplishments, achievements, and contributions one has made. A decision to quit is nothing special and seldom considered peculiar.
⇒ Can you think of any more that can help employees to quit their jobs elegantly? Let us know in the comments below.

Carucci, R. (2021, July, 10). Yes, You Can Quit Your Job Without Burning A Bridge. Harvard Business Review.
Learning English (2015, December 12). Burning Bridges Is A Bold Move In War And In Life. VOA.
Knight, R. (2014, December 04). How To Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges. Harvard Business Review.


JC de Jong
Director, Netherlands

Courage & Integrity

Thank you for this insightful article. Two items that we might consider in such a process are courag... Sign up

Nicole Beaulieu
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The article is very interesting and worth taking into account, being that, the best we can do when w... Sign up

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