Some ways you definitely shouldn’t quit your job

Going out in a blaze of glory probably won’t end up burning anyone but yourself

 
Chart showing that 86% of HR managers say how you quit a job affects your career
(OfficeTeam/Robert Half)

When you’re quitting a job you’ve come to hate, it’s tempting to just walk away and leave a smouldering wreck behind you. But that would be a mistake, according to a new survey of human resources managers carried out by staffing provider OfficeTeam.

As you can see from the graph above, 86% of HR managers say the manner in which you quit has an effect on future job opportunities. Reputations have a way of getting around, and while the momentary catharsis of flipping off your manager on the way out the door might feel righteous, it’s the kind of incident that can haunt careers.

Walking out in a huff from your gig folding T-shirts at the Gap might not kneecap your job prospects for life, but in higher-stakes fields—where more demanding educational requirements and niche specializations can make it a very small world—going out in a blaze of glory is unlikely to burn anyone but yourself.

The survey also asked respondents to name the most spectacular resignation mic-drops they knew of. The quitters they cited can be loosely grouped into the Creative Try-Hards (a cake with a resignation letter written on it in frosting); the Sullen Minimalists (Post-It notes, text messages); the Proxy Pathetics (parents quitting on their kid’s behalf, getting your spouse to do it); the Kaiser Sözes (saying you’re going to lunch and just never returning) and the Dubious Urban Legends (throwing a brick through the window with a note reading “I Quit,”  hiring a marching band to accompany).

So that’s what not to do. Helpfully, OfficeTeam offers five pointers on good etiquette for departing a job:

1. Give proper notice. Schedule a meeting with your boss regarding your resignation so he or she doesn’t hear it through the grapevine first. Providing two weeks’ notice is standard, but if your schedule is flexible, offer to stay longer to train a replacement.

2. Get things in order. Provide written instructions to team members on projects and make sure they have access to the tools and information needed to complete assignments.

3. Tie up loose ends. Don’t slack off in your last few weeks. Use your remaining time on the job to help complete projects you were working on.

4. Provide feedback. If an exit interview is offered, participate. Be honest with your feedback, but keep it constructive and professional.

5. Leave on a positive note. Take the time to say goodbye and thank you to colleagues. Provide your contact information and offer to keep in touch.

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