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How to Leave a Job With Dignity

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Perhaps you've found a more lucrative position at a different company, or maybe you've just decided to take a break from the work force for personal reasons. No matter what circumstances have brought you to quit your current job, it's best to make your resignation as professional as possible. Conducting yourself professionally throughout the resignation process will allow you to leave your job with dignity -- and could lead to a positive reference from your former employer in the future.

Provide Notice

Leaving a job without providing notice is one of the most unprofessional things you can do. It reflects badly on you as a person and is sure to disrupt the order of things at your current company. No matter why you've chosen to leave, if you hope to preserve your dignity you should notify your boss of your intent to resign. The more notice you're able to provide your employer, the better, though two weeks is a common standard in most industries. Arrange a meeting with your boss to notify him in person of your intentions, and also draft a letter of resignation so your notice is on paper. Include the date you foresee being your last at the company as well as any other information you feel like sharing. It's okay to tell your boss why you're leaving if you feel comfortable doing so. Be professional and respectful in both the meeting and your letter to preserve a positive relationship.

Talk With Your Co-Workers

The rumor mill tends to start buzzing when an employee mysteriously disappears from the work place, and if your reputation among your co-workers is important to you, you'll want to set the record straight before you go. Talk with your co-workers face-to-face and tell them about your decision to resign -- after you've provided notice to your boss, of course. Avoid talking about your plans with your co-workers before you've spoken with your employer, as this is unprofessional.

Finish Your Work

If you have any unfinished cases, projects or other jobs, do your best to finish them before your final day of employment. Providing notice isn't a license to slack off and cease carrying out your duties, and it's important that you maintain your productivity and continue working until you're officially no longer employed by your company. Finishing your work will ease the burden of your leaving for your co-workers, and will show you have respect for the company as a whole despite your decision to leave.

Write a Thank You Letter

After you've packed up your desk and left the office for the last time, spend a few moments writing a letter of thanks to your former employer. Thank her for giving you the opportunity to work as a member of her team and reflect on how the job helped you develop your skills and gain experience. A thank you letter shows respect and professionalism, and could sway a former employer into providing you with a reference should you need one later in your career, even if they are not happy about you leaving.

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