How to Leave Your Job the Right Way
The new guy in the office up and leaves for another job.
Your coworker didn’t show up for work three days ago, and just this morning you find out she quit.
Either one of these situations sound familiar? It’s an all-too-common occurrence in today’s workplace – employees leaving their jobs suddenly and too quickly – and it might be giving this generation of workers a bad rap.
Most people believe leaving a job is a victimless crime, but that’s often not the case. When you leave a job – any job, at any point – it can be a big (and expensive) problem for your boss and for the organization as a whole.
You Cost Money
When you’re hired, you’re given a wage or salary. For example, let’s say you make $15 per hour. What you may not realize is that, thanks to Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, state unemployment insurance and other employer responsibilities, your $15 per hour wage actually costs your employer $18 per hour. For a frame of reference on a larger scale, an employee making $30,000 per year actually costs an employer approximately $44,000.
You must also consider the cost of training. No matter how experienced a new hire may be, everyone needs at least some training, and that training can be expensive. For some high-level positions, training can cost employers up to half a year’s salary.1
The Right Way to Leave
This is not to say that you are chained for life to the first job you take. While earlier generations may have held only one or two jobs in a lifetime, modern workers have multiple jobs across the span of their careers. That’s why it is important to be mindful and considerate when making career decisions. You’re not the only person affected when you leave a job – and as a responsible employee you should take your employer into account when making any permanent decisions.
Anytime you’re considering leaving a job – and especially before you take on a new position – you should consider the following.
How Soon Is Too Soon to Leave?
The answer to this question depends on your situation. It is standard to remain in a new job for at least one year; enough time to become an efficient team member and make a decent return on the company’s investment in you. If your new job is intensive and required a lot of training, however, one year may not be long enough.
Staying in a job for at least a year can benefit you personally, as well. In terms of finding better positions in the future, hiring managers take into account how long you worked at other companies. Staying with a company for a full year shows that you passed your first evaluation (usually completed at six months), that you experienced the workings of a full calendar year, that you developed relationships with coworkers, and that you understood – and fit – the company’s culture.
Under What Circumstances Is It Okay to Leave?
Let’s say you’ve been in the same job for three years and you’re ready for a change. That’s perfectly okay – as long as you’re making a change for the right reasons. 2 You may be feel like your current job doesn’t have enough opportunity for growth. Or you may receive an offer that is considerably better for your situation – whether that be commute-wise, financially or for personal reasons. Ultimately, if the positives outweigh the negatives, it is acceptable to explore your options.
When contemplating leaving a job, a good question to ask yourself is: could I justify this move to my next employer? If you find yourself struggling for an adequate response to this question, it’s probably not a good move. If you can answer this question honestly and give a positive justification, then you’re probably in a place where it’s okay to consider a change.
You Decide You’re Leaving. Now What?
You’ve decided to leave your job but you want to do it the right way. Most people abide by the somewhat standard two-week notice. While this unwritten rule is generally accepted across the board, it is by no means applicable in all situations. A two-week notice isn’t always ideal.
For instance, if you’re an essential part of a team that couldn’t function without someone in your position, two weeks may not be enough. By leaving with such little notice, you may not only hurt your employer, but also the other members of your team. If you perform a specialized function or are in a position that required a long training period, two weeks most likely won’t be enough either. Your employer will need time to not only find a replacement, but also provide the new hire with the same amount of training you received.
In these situations, it’s best to use your good judgment. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes and ask yourself how and when would I want my employees to notify me? Open communication is key.
The Benefits of the Right Way
Leaving a job the “right way” is definitely more work than just leaving. Going about it correctly means taking your time, weighing your options, and talking it through with your employer. While this can be a long process, the benefits are worth the effort.
One benefit is that your chances of landing better jobs in the future drastically improve. That’s because, if you leave in a positive way, your employer will be more likely to give you a positive referral. Also, if you’re willing to stick it out and stay in a job for longer than you might like, your resume will be more attractive to future employers. Remember, it costs a lot of time, money and resources to hire and train someone – and employers are looking for long-term investments.
Ultimately, the benefits of leaving a job in the right way far outweigh the required effort. The next time you’re ready to pursue other opportunities, make sure to do it right and consider how your leaving will affect others.