Most everyone has been there: a job so rotten you wonder how you were suckered into applying for it in the first place. Or perhaps a job that no longer meets your immediate needs because of changing circumstances. For such situations, quitting for greener pastures may be in order. In fact, it may even improve your quality of life for the long term.
However, leaving your job is a sensitive matter for everyone, especially your main client. Not your "boss" or "employer". Your main client! Why? Because in the great scheme of things we are all clients of each other's services and business owners of our selves. Understanding this will go a long way toward quitting with grace and perhaps even earn the respect of one more reference for your resume.
Rule#1: Think It Through!
The most important rule of all. I can't stress enough how frustrating it can be for coworkers if one of them makes it known that they are undecided on whether to stay or not. Long-term and short-term plans for the company could be put on hold because of one's flippant behavior, leading to more unnecessary stress at the workplace.
If you are unsure about your future with the organization, wisdom dictates that you keep it to yourself until you are more certain later. Give your position at least another month to ponder about it. After all, a lot of things could happen within that time frame. You may find that the job is more important to you than you thought. You may find that you really do need to leave after all.
For new trainees, you must make your final decision before any more major training is spent on your behalf! You'll be saving major time for both you and the company. As a general rule of thumb, if after a month of work you dread (and not merely dislike) the responsibilities then the job simply isn't for you.
Rule#2: Be Upfront With Your Client
Once you have carefully concluded you are better off leaving, choose an appropriate time and method to discuss this with your client. Respectfully describe the reasons for your decision, and emphasize that you understand how difficult it may be to replace your talent with another's. If possible, give a little more than the customary two weeks for the business to fill your shoes, particularly if the position is highly specialized. Above all else, avoid drama; keep this process simple and to-the-point.
Rule#3: Secure That Other Job
You'd be surprised by how many people let this sort of common sense slip past them until the very last minute. In this economy, you can't afford to be overconfident; your job search should start the moment you decided to exit the position. This means networking and searching through the most prolific job boards on the Internet during your free time. It also means revamping your resume to better stand against competition.
Above all else, avoid repeating the cycle of disappointment. Focus on jobs you know you will appreciate for the long run. If there are few or none of that sort where you live, then at least settle for ones that you're sure you can handle without much complaint. Additionally, don't forget to ask tough questions regarding the nature of the work during your interviews! I myself have met hiring managers who flat out lied to me concerning my earnings, schedules and tasks at my great expense later on. If you sense that the interviewer is doing the same and/or dodging pertinent questions, you're probably better off looking elsewhere.
If you have vacation credits within your company, spend them on days you know will have the least impact on business productivity for your job hunting needs. Let your client know ahead of time about this to avoid any headaches for the both of you.
Rule#4: Continue To Give Your 110%
Just because you gave your two-weeks notice doesn't mean you should slack off. As much as you may hate it, you must still earn your wage as you promised when you accepted the responsibilities in the first place. If not because it is the morally right thing to do, then at least for the reason that you want to leave with yet another professional contact in your repertoire. Work UP to your last clock-out, not down!
Rule#5: Conclude Your Stay
Before you finally make your way out the door, ask your client whether he or she could vouch for you as a reference. As unlikely as it may be, if you followed through with your responsibilities and produced much more wealth than you charged (see rule #4) then you stand a good chance in receiving a positive answer.
Whether or not you do gain another reference, be sure to inquire whether there's any room for improvement in your trade. Sure your client may be biased against you for silly reasons, but any grain of truth relating to your career path may prove invaluable in future business relationships.
Shake hands, then part ways.
In the past I have met clients who were either immature or respectful about my decision to leave, but all were appreciative of the fact that I took their needs into serious consideration. This really helped me gain their trust and further my chances of landing better positions in the marketplace.
If played like a pro, quitting can be a very rewarding experience for you too. Just as how you can leave toward better opportunities, so can you leave something better than it was before. Thus your clients will be thankful for this, and so will you as your reputation as a mature, reliable and productive worker improves, making that dream job all the more achievable.
I can't promise that the process will be as straightforward or easy as is suggested through this tutorial; in fact you may find that you must change the order of steps or introduce new ones to better fit your situation. Whichever the case may be, always remember that improving your lot in life is better when done at the service of others than at their expense.