Shot of torso of business man handing in resignation letter to boss with his box of stuff in hand.
Image: © Charlie’s/

How to quit your job without ruining professional relationships

26 Oct 2018

Moving on to the next phase of your career is both necessary and inevitable, but you don’t have to burn bridges in the process.

In most cases, it’s a question of not if you leave a job, but when. The worker of today is more mobile – gone are the days in which serving one’s time at one company right up until retirement is the norm.

Sometimes, there are other extenuating factors. You may want to relocate, so you need a new job to go with this new location. You may straight-up hate your job and find yourself fantasising about resigning in spectacular fashion, flipping off your co-workers and giving your manager an earful.

We don’t recommend this course of action. For your own sake, you should strive to make leaving a job as smooth a transition as possible – and yes, you can actually leave a job while keeping your professional relationships intact. has compiled the excellent infographic below, clearly laying out your step-by-step plan to quitting without burning any bridges.

First off, timing is everything. You shouldn’t tender your resignation in the middle of a hugely busy period or in the throes of an intense project. If you do, you’ll not only leave your colleagues in the lurch, but will probably also leave a bad taste in their mouths.

Refer to your contract and figure out what your minimum notice period is. Also, factor in some time to do the necessary handover. Try to be flexible about when you plan to leave.  These are small courtesies, but they’ll make a big difference to the impression you leave on your way out the door.

As daunting as it is, you need to approach your boss and tell them first. It would be a bit of a disaster if they found out about your impending departure through the grapevine. Meet them in person and tell them about your plans. Discuss whatever projects need to be wrapped up and ensure you thank them for your time at the company.

Follow this up with a concise and polite resignation letter. You don’t need to go into a detailed and emotional explanation as to the reasons you’re leaving, even if your reasons are indeed very emotional.

For more details on navigating a potential sticky exit strategy with grace and ease, check out the infographic below.

quit your job without burning bridges infographic


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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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