How to Quit A Job Without Burning A Bridge | Ep #75

May 1, 2023

​​How to Quit A Job Without Burning A Bridge | Ep #75 Trying to leave a job, no matter what the circumstances, can be an emotional decision. You may be ready for a career change, but you don’t want to to disappoint your coworkers or your family/friends. Your office may be a toxic workplace where […]

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​​How to Quit A Job Without Burning A Bridge | Ep #75

Trying to leave a job, no matter what the circumstances, can be an emotional decision. You may be ready for a career change, but you don’t want to to disappoint your coworkers or your family/friends. Your office may be a toxic workplace where you know you need to leave, but you are hesitant. In this episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, Shannon shares 6 Steps To Quit A Job Without Burning A Bridge. Listen to Episode #75 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast before you make your final decision to resign, so that you can be confident with a plan of action that will lead you to your path of Second Act Success.

How To Quit Your Job

How To Quit Your Job Without Burning A Bridge | Ep #75




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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - ​​How To Quit Your Job Without Burning A Bridge
Episode - #75
Host: Shannon Russell
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)


yay. Just in time for a new episode of the podcast. with your host my mommy. My mom has a lot of career advice for you. This is the Second Act Success Podcast.

[00:00:12] Shannon Russell: Welcome back to episode 75 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast. I am your host Career Coach Shannon Russell. Today I am sharing Six Steps To Quit Your Job Without Burning A Bridge.


[00:01:27] Shannon Russell: Oftentimes, when I speak with women who are considering a career change, one of the biggest reasons they hesitate is because they are worried about what other people will think. They're worried about hurting the feelings of their boss or their coworkers, or sometimes they're just nervous about what their family and friends will say.

Oh, I just can't leave. That means my coworkers will have to pick up the slack and I feel bad doing that to them. Or I get, oh, I've been here for so long when it look bad. If I just up and leave now. Or what about this one? My family will think I [00:02:00] have lost my mind to walk away from this stability of this job. I just don't know if I can.

The thing is if you have a good relationship with your manager and your coworkers, and if you have a healthy relationship with your family, they will honor your choice to try something new.

Most likely they have seen you feeling less and less excited about your day to day, and maybe they felt this coming. If you are at the point that you are considering resigning from your job, you have thought about this.

You have realized the benefits of doing this and of making this change. And now you're just kind of at the point of pulling the trigger, so to speak and actually giving your notice. And really, I think a lot of times. We can spend weeks, months, even years processing the idea of leaving our job and trying that next act that we're excited about.

But when it comes down to it and we've internally made that choice. Now it's time [00:03:00] to make it known to the world. And that is by resigning from our job, letting our coworkers and our employer know and letting our family and friends know as well. That's really where I think it becomes real for people. And that's where the hesitation comes. This is also where the planning comes because you want to make sure that you are leaving your current role. In a way that is not going to burn a bridge in a way where, you know, if say things don't work out down the road, you can come back and even if you don't come back, it's also super important to maintain these relationships. You never know when you might want to.

Go back to an old coworker, go back to an old employer. Maybe ask them for a letter of recommendation or ask them for a referral, or you might want to go back to that contact in order to help someone else land a job. You just never know where your paths will cross. And I always, always [00:04:00] recommend that you leave a job. You leave a role in the best place possible.

And that's what we're going to talk about in this episode today. Regardless of why you might be hesitating with actually giving your notice and quitting this job. It comes down to most likely you not wanting to disappoint others. Right. So I have a few ways that you can explain why you're leaving your current job to start something new in a way that does not offend your employer or offend your coworkers.

And that keeps that bridge standing strong. This way you feel confident with your decision. While also keeping your relationships and your reputation intact.

[00:04:41] Shannon Russell: Here we go. Step number one.

This is probably the most important step. First, I want you to take a look inward and assess why you want to make this change. Hopefully you have done all of this inner work already and you know, your why. If you are confident in your [00:05:00] motivation and you have researched and planned out your next step after you turn in your resignation letter, then you are on the right track. My friend. The hardest part is knowing why we are doing this. And what is actually going to fill us up and make us happy on that next journey in that second act. So if you have already done that inner work, you have done that research and you know, that this current role is not fulfilling you and you know what it is that you want to move towards. Maybe you don't have another job lined up. Maybe you are not completely clear on the business you want to start, or the new career change you want to take, but you know that where you are now is not the place for you. So if you know that reason and you know those whys, then you can be confident in saying that to your employer, turning in your resignation letter and moving on.

[00:05:54] Shannon Russell: All right. Step two. Prepared to give notice in person [00:06:00] with your department head or your direct manager. And under no circumstance. Should you ever email a resignation? I know we're all more comfortable behind the keyboards these days, but we are talking about how to quit your job without burning a bridge. So giving your resignation should always, always, always be in person face to face. Or if your company is remote, just schedule an online face-to-face meeting.

It's wise to prepare for what you would like to say ahead of time. This prep will help you to feel more confident at the meeting. You want to make sure that you can answer any question that your boss may have about why you are leaving as well as the timeline. So think all of this through ahead.

How much notice are you giving, will you be able to help with the transition as you leave before they hire a replacement? Think about how you'll be able to answer these questions. So you're ready to talk about it. If you do not have another job set up [00:07:00] already, then that actually gives you a little bit more flexibility to be able to help with that transition. So think about all of these things prior to your resignation meeting, you want to be able to know what it is that you are willing to give them. You want to know exactly how you're going to explain why you are leaving. And you want to be able to articulate it in a way that is respectful and professional.

Also, I'm curious if you ever tried to leave a job before just to have your boss beg you to stay and offer you more money or a better title right there on the spot. This is kind of a little side tangent, but I had this happen once back in my television production days, and I thought it would be a good story to share. So when this happened to me, I had let my boss know that I was not going on to the next season of the show that I was working on.

And it caught me completely off guard when he immediately offered me more money in a higher title [00:08:00] right there in the meeting. I can still remember feeling as if I was shrinking up. I did not know what to say. I was shaking and I remember just saying, oh, that's so nice of you. Let me think about it. And I left the office completely confused and mad at myself because I knew I did not want to take that role and stay there.

I knew that the pay increase and the title increase was not what I wanted at that time. I had another opportunity lined up and


[00:08:29] Shannon Russell: I just thought it was going to be a clean break and it definitely wasn't. Now in hindsight, I wish I was very clear.

In my resignation. I wish I had been a little bit more self-confident in expressing that to my boss.

I think I was in my late twenties at the time, and I just did not have that confidence to really speak up for myself and looking back, I just remember being like, oh great. Now I have to set up another meeting to tell him that I officially am leaving. And it was [00:09:00] just really awkward. So. , I guess this lesson just kind of brings it back to you, really knowing your why, and being true to your why, so that nothing can waiver.

Of course, if that increase in salary or that new title, that promotion, whatever, you know, your employer may offer you to keep you to stay at that is enticing. Then that is all the better. However, if you are. Listening to this episode, and you are thinking about quitting your job to not burn a bridge. You are probably already in a place where, you know, this is a pretty.

Solid. Plan that you have cooked up and that, you know, you're meant for something different. So just try to remember that and be confident to articulate that when you do meet with your boss

To wrap up step number two here, prepare what you want to say. When you give notice in person and follow through to make it the most professional resignation possible. You can then follow up afterwards with a formal resignation letter via [00:10:00] email. If you prefer after the conversation.

[00:10:29] Shannon Russell: Step number three. When it's time to officially resign, make sure that you go back to your why once more. You want to communicate your why with your employer in a way that clearly explains your decision? It's always best, to be honest. Yep. Professional about your reasons for leaving. You may have a long list of things that irk you about this role

You might have coworkers that annoy you, but there is no need to air these grievances. Now during your resignation [00:11:00] meeting. Bite your lip avoid any negativity and thank your boss for the opportunities that you had here at the company. This is not a necessity, but

if you feel comfortable, you can explain where you're going or what you'll be pursuing as a new challenge that you're eager to take. Once you leave here this way, your company knows that you are grateful for your time with them. But you are leaving for a new and different opportunity. This leaves the door open, just in case things don't go as planned. If you ever do want to come back to this company. And it also kind of lets them know that you're not going to a competitor. That you're leaving to just pursue a new path. If this is not the case and you are going to a competitor. You can choose whether or not you want to let your employer know this.

Either way, it's just best to keep it as professional as you can, by thinking them for the opportunity, letting them know how much you've learned being at the company and leave it with as much positivity as possible.


[00:12:00] Shannon Russell: Step number four. How much notice is needed to be respectful to your team and not burn a bridge. The rule of thumb is of course, at least two weeks. Notice this will allow management to find a replacement

and ensure a smooth transition for your team. If you're in a more senior role, you might want to give a little bit more notice to allow for any longer transition periods, But this is completely up to you. If you are able and willing to help with the transition, that would definitely leave an even better taste in their mouth. Maybe you can relate, but oftentimes we are so consumed in our own work in our day to day that other people don't even know what it is that we do.

So helping to document your daily tasks and your processes will of course be a big help to the person following in your footsteps. Plus it shows that you care about the wellbeing of the company after you leave.

On a similar note. I make sure to tie up loose ends on any current projects [00:13:00] and let your clients and customers know you will be leaving. If you already know who will be taking over for you, you can let them know that person's contact info as well.

This due diligence will help tie up your departure with a nice, friendly and professional Bo.

[00:13:16] Shannon Russell: Okay. Step number five. Once you are ready to take that final step out of the door of this act. And head into your second act, be sure to say goodbye to your colleagues and thank them for the time that you've had together, you should let them know where they can connect with you moving forward. Be sure to connect on LinkedIn with anyone you want to keep in touch with. And maybe even people that you're not sure if you do. give those people that you definitely want to maintain a relationship with your personal email address as well.

Working in television. We used to go from project to project. So I would be with the company for three to six months, maybe a year or two. And then I would go on to another project at the end of every project. I would send an email [00:14:00] to my whole entire team, to everyone at that organization, from my personal email address. It would list my cell phone number, my personal email address, obviously, and how to connect with me on.

Facebook Instagram. And of course, LinkedIn. That's just an easy way, so that email will sit in their inbox plus you will have all of these contacts in your personal email as well.

This is a very crucial step, just because you never know when a new opportunity may come up down the road, and you don't know if you will ever need a favor from one of these former colleagues, again, even while you're at your next company or onto your next business. Keeping in touch can help maintain positive relationships and keep you connected to your professional network.

[00:14:45] Shannon Russell: Step number six. Do your best to continue your professionalism when talking to a potential future employer? When they ask you why you decided to leave that role, be honest, polite, and professional. There is [00:15:00] no need to talk poorly about your previous company.

Especially on an interview or when starting a new role. That just shows more about you and your character than it does about that previous company. So keep those thoughts to yourself and Jessica in excited about this new opportunity and don't let the past dictate your future. You can simply tell someone when they ask that you learned a lot and you gain the experience that you needed at your prior role, and now you are ready to focus on a role that is a better fit for your skillset and your career goals. Keep it short and sweet.

[00:15:37] Shannon Russell: Overall my friend. You do not want to burn a bridge no matter what. Remember, it's important for you to leave your job with your head held high relationship solidified and your reputation strong.

You want your former employer to give you that letter of recommendation or vouch for you down the road? If asked. As we know turnover at companies is common and [00:16:00] choosing to leave a job is a normal part of anyone's career growth. And as much as people, especially now love to start jobs and leave jobs, start jobs and leave jobs. You want to make sure that you're setting yourself up for success in doing it? By staying grateful, positive and not burning bridges. By doing so you will be setting yourself up for success in your second act.

All right there, you have it. Six steps to quit your job without burning a bridge. I hope this is helpful for those of you who are planning this in the near future, who are thinking about it, who are gearing up to actually take that huge step into a second act. Just know that you can do it. It's all about you and your why.

Plan this resignation with your values upfront, you know who you are, you know, where you're headed and you want to think your current employer, you want to leave things in the best way possible for them. And for that team.

[00:17:00] this way, everyone is happy for you cheering you on. As you venture into your second act, your new career change, starting a business, whatever that second act is for you. Of course, if you need more advice and inspiration on how to begin your second act. Make sure you subscribe to the second act success career podcast. You can go back and listen to all 74 episodes up until this point and gather the information you need to help you move forward on your journey. I'm career coach Shannon Russell. And I will be back later this week with an interview with Rebecca Linney, the author of The Growing Bed on how she went from taking an issue with her family and creating a second act as an author.

Thanks for listening. And I'll talk to you next time.



Previous Episodes:

Episode #74 – Overcome Debt, Sell Your Business To Bill Gates, and Become a Millionaire Businesswoman with Beate Chelette

Episode #73 – Career Celebration – One Year of Second Act Success

Episode #72: Leave a Legacy With Your Second Act