You’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statics, roughly 1-in-4 workers will leave their job this year. If you are one of those who are considering a move, plan for your exit and do it with as much grace as possible.

Leaving a job can be an emotionally charged situation. If you’ve spent very many years in the same position, part of your identity may be wrapped up in your job. Or, if you absolutely do not get along with your superiors, you may dream of the day you can give them a piece of your mind.

Most, if not all, of us have heard about or watched some of the most famous exit stories on FaceBook or shown in the media. There is Joey, the hotel worker, who announced “I quit” with the help of a marching band; the JetBlue flight attendant who use the emergency chutes on the runway; or, the woman who quit by sending her boss a video message.

Before you follow in like manner, consider the consequences. There is always the possibility your new position won’t work out, and, if you burn the bridge with your current employer, you ultimately close the door on the possibility of returning.

Prepare for Departure

Does your company expect a 2-week notice? Will you be asked to leave immediately or asked to stay on to train your replacement?

Plan ahead. Review your work files to refresh your memory on accomplishments from the position. Do you need copies of your review? Ask HR for a copy by framing it as you are goal-setting.

What Not to Do

Don’t share your intentions with your boss or coworkers. Giving even the slightest hint that you are looking for a new position could cause your employer to let you go before you’ve had a chance to follow through with exploring your options. You want to make sure you do not jeopardize your current job by sharing your frustrations or thoughts on leaving before you are 100% sure you are going to make the move.

Research shows it is easier to find a job while you are still employed vs. conducting a job search when you are unemployed.  When contacting prospective employers, make sure to mention you are conducting a “confidential” job search.

Pay particular attention to whom you are replying and be cautious about “blind” advertisements –more than one job seeker has accidentally submitted a resume to their current employer. And, do not, I repeat, do not conduct your job search on company time. I have personally witnessed a senior-level employee’s dismissal due to such activity.

Keep the Door Open

+ Follow the employee handbook on giving notice.

+ Prepare your letter of resignation accordingly.

+ After your resignation has been accepted, ask for references / letters of OR LinkedIn Recommendations.

+ Meet with HR to finalize your paperwork – exit interview, health insurance / benefits, 401K rollover.

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