Here’s how to leave your employer without burning bridges

Whatever the trigger for leaving as job, do not burn bridges.

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That millennials and Gen Zs are job hoppers is not news. In fact, statistics have moved upwards. Six out of 10 Gen Zs and millennials are open to new opportunities, according to a report by Gallup, an American analytics and advisory company.

However, we live in the famed ‘global village’ where a decision you made while working for a company in Ireland might follow you to Kenya. This is because, with the intertwined nature of the workplace today, your new CEO might just be on the board of your previous company. The gist here is not that it is dangerous to change jobs, rather, that it is too early in your career to burn bridges. You might feel that your current employer hasn’t been fair to you and does not match your future goals and aspirations. Whatever the trigger for leaving is, do not burn bridges. Here is how you can leave without burning bridges.

Respect company policy

What does your contract say about notice? Plan your move in a way that allows you to either serve the notice, or compensate your employer if you move immediately.

It is also advisable to let your boss and colleagues know that you are leaving, because if they learn about your departure for the first time from the human resource department, or even after you have left, it might send the signal that you wish to dissociate with them. What if you will need a recommendation from any of them in future?

Express gratitude

Unlike the older generations, millennials and Gen Z’s ‘do not use filters’. What that means (for the uninitiated) is that they express their thoughts and feedback bluntly and are not afraid to speak up when there is an injustice. All these are very good qualities, however, there is a need to taper these with diplomacy. Even in the worst case scenario, the job you are leaving behind gave you a chance to see one more side to the world you live in, and that is something to be grateful for, as you step into your next professional challenge.

Additionally, the exit conversation can be a difficult one if your workplace was great and your boss helped you grow. Expressing gratitude can help make this conversation somewhat less challenging, and provide you an opportunity to reflect on your gains while working in that role.

Train your replacement

If a replacement is presented during your notice period and you are asked to train them, do so willingly. Even as you serve your notice period, you are still guided by certain company policies. Remember, you have spent many months or years building your professional reputation and networks at this company, so you shouldn’t throw that away by doing shoddy work just because you are on your way out.

Offer help when called upon to

You might be thinking, I am no longer on their payroll, so why should I help? Servicing your professional networks doesn’t just mean showing up for an evening of cocktails. It also means sacrifice, big and small. And yes, sometimes this takes the form of assisting someone who may not pay in form of money.