The Right and Wrong Ways to Leave Your Current Position

by Brian Skory

The Right and Wrong Ways to Leave Your Current Position

January is traditionally the time of making New Year’s Resolutions. And for many people, that resolution is to find a new job. As recruiters, we’re all about helping people get  themselves into a role that’s a better fit for them. Better can be a lot of different things--better salary, better work environment, better commute, and better tech-stack are just a few examples that come to mind. But whatever the reason for switching jobs, please keep in mind that there is a right way to leave your current position--and a definite wrong way.

The Right Way

Once you’ve secured your new position and it’s time to tender your resignation, it will be beneficial to keep the following points in mind.

Be graceful in your resignation. Show appreciation for the opportunities received during your tenure. Make your leaving about you, not them. Offer a full two-week notice. Yes, everyone wants you to start your new position tomorrow, but any new boss worth their weight in salt will respect your desire to be a stand-up employee on your way out.

Give them their money’s worth during those two weeks. Obviously, the temptation will be there to slack off (hey, you’re not going to be around!) but remember—it’s your reputation you are preserving.

Don’t bad mouth your boss and coworkers once you’ve left. Besides it being a petty thing to engage in, those words could get back to someone who might be your future co-worker or boss.

If you are moving into any sort of a business development role, respect the agreements for non-competition.

Even if you believe your former company wouldn’t take legal action against you, honor your agreement because it’s the right thing to do.

The Wrong Way

I doubt there are many of us who haven’t seen one viral video or another of someone quitting their job in a public, grandiose, and sometimes humorous fashion. But as fulfilling as it might seem to part company with your boss in that way, this is not the best move for your ongoing career for the following reasons:

The IT community tends to be somewhat fluid. Your old boss could very well be on the same softball team as your new boss, and once they get to talking over post game beers, the outcome may not end well for you.

The boss you burned a bridge with just might be the person who joins your next company’s leadership team two years down the road. I have actually seen this happen and it made for a very uncomfortable work situation for this person.

But even these aside, many of us are investing more and more time and energy into developing our “personal brand.” It hardly makes sense to risk tarnishing your reputation by resigning in a less than elegant fashion. One more point worth mentioning: Occasionally when a candidate puts in their notice we are witness to a counter-offer being dangled in front of them to try to persuade them to stay. I’ve written extensively about this in previous newsletters, but suffice it to say that more times than not, accepting a counter-offer does not end well for the candidate. Nor does using it to negotiate a higher salary with the new employer. If you want a better salary with your current employer, ask for a raise. If you want to leave--leave!

In summary, when interviewing, you never know when your reputation has preceded you. Maximize your interviewing success by always moving on with elegance.

Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. Stout was founded in 1993 and is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Stout has clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and, yes, robotics. Stout provides expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements. If you're looking for a job in the tech industry, visit our job board to see if you qualify for some of our positions. Best of luck to you! If you're looking to hire technical talent for your company, please contact us. This is a career advice article catered to developers, technical project managers, and other technical staff looking to improve their skills. Sign up to receive our career and technical articles in your email inbox.
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