Career

Don’t Make These 4 Mistakes When You Quit Your Job

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Joanne Poh

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We’ve all had those jobs we just couldn’t wait to leave. “Good luck, suckers,” we muttered under our breath as we surveyed the poor souls who hadn’t had the luck to find another job before we did.

But before you jump up on your table and start doing a victory dance, realise that no matter how much you’d like to give your boss the finger you probably shouldn’t. You might already be serving out your notice period, but here are four mistakes you’ll regret making. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

 

1. Showing your displeasure at the job

When you really hate someone or something at your job, it eats away at you. Every day you’ve been telling yourself you’ll dig your way out of that hellhole. And now that you’ve thrown that letter on your boss’s desk, it’s time to let your real feelings show. Right? No way!

No matter how much you hate that place, do everything that’s in your power to reign in your negative emotions until you’re really and truly out of there. Complaining incessantly to your colleagues, being rude to your boss and turning in substandard work will hurt your reputation when you leave the workplace, even if you’ve been doing great work for years prior. Even if your boss is being nasty and vindictive, power through the final weeks with your head down.

It’s good practice to plan to leave your bosses and coworkers with thank you notes on your last day at the office. Just committing to writing those letters will keep your behaviour in check until the very end.

 

2. Not keeping in touch with your colleagues

Even if your boss hated your guts, chances are you still had some decent times with your colleagues. Whether it was lunchtime gossip sessions, after work benders or sharing snacks behind your cubicle walls, they were the ones who kept you helped keep you alive until the end of the work day. You snuck off for coffee breaks and smoke breaks, and covered for each other when one of you was on MC.

But no matter how tight you were when you were working together, now that you’re leaving the company, you’ll realise just how easy it is to drift apart from your former coworkers. Without the job acting as the glue that keeps you together, keeping in touch is going to take a lot more effort than you think. You’ll no longer have office gossip as a common topic of conversation, and in order to catch up you’ll actually have to take time out of your personal schedules.

Commit to making the effort and you’ll have friends for life—I have close friends who I worked with for just a few months, and the length of the friendship has far exceeded the period during which we worked together. Don’t just meet for lunch during work, either. If the relationship is to make the transition to a real friendship you’ll want to disengage your meetings from the mundanity of work.

 

3. Not tying up loose ends at the office

Just because you’re leaving the company doesn’t mean your role at the office is just going to shrivel up and disappear. No, some other poor, unfortunate soul is going to have to step in and take your place. Whether this hapless employee is a brand new hire or an unlucky colleague who didn’t manage to dodge the arrows, you’re going to be the one who has to hand over your work to him.

Even if you’ve spent years doing diligent work for the company, you are going to be judged based on how thoroughly you hand over your tasks. Never underestimate how damaging hearsay at the office can be. Years of hard work can be overturned by complaints that you couldn’t be bothered to hand over your duties properly or left a mess for the next guy to clean up.

Typing up loose ends doesn’t mean you need to scramble to finish any work you didn’t have time to complete. But it does mean briefing the next guy thoroughly and making sure he knows what he needs to do. If possible, put things down in writing by shooting the new guy an email detailing exactly which files have been transferred to his possession and which topics you have briefed him on, so that nobody can point fingers at you later on.

 

4. Not getting your finances in order

No matter how you feel about the job you’re about to leave, it performed an important role in your life—chances are, it was your main source of income. Before you leave your job, make sure you’ve gotten your finances in order—you should know exactly how much you need to survive on each month, and where that money is going to come from.

Having another job immediately lined up after you leave is the most obvious way to take care of this problem. If you’re going to be taking a pay cut, you should work out a new monthly budget and cut your expenses before you say sayanora to your last job, not after.

Things get tricky if you’re taking a break from work or making a drastic career switch. Even before you hand in your resignation letter, you’ll want to know exactly how much you’ll be spending each month and where the money is going to come from, whether from your savings or through other forms of income. Not getting your finances in order before you quit your job could have you crawling back to your boss begging him to take you back.

Have you ever made any of the above mistakes when leaving a job? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.