(Last Updated On: 04/04/2017)

You’ve made the decision to move on. Perhaps it was a bad boss, who drove you to tears every Tuesday afternoon at that Operations Meeting. Or maybe the two hour commute wore you down, and you just couldn’t stomach dealing with the office politics anymore.

You have fantasized about this day for weeks, months, maybe even years…imagining just what it is you REALLY want to say when you quit. But then you remember that it’s a small world, and all those truthful, hurtful things you want to spew forth, well, it just isn’t worth it.

You never know when you might encounter that crazy boss again, and it’s always a good idea to leave on good terms. Better than that, here is an acronym for leaving a position with GRACE.

G – Give notice

It may feel good to quit on the spot (for a moment). But in the long run, it’s just not a professional career move. People talk, and when others in your industry circle find out you just “up and left”, well, that’s not a good reputation to have.

Professional behavior and acting with integrity means finishing what you start, and it’s the right thing to do to give as much notice as you can when leaving a job. Standard notice is two weeks. If your boss is comfortable with your leaving prior to that time, they will let you know.

R – Be Respectful

Maybe you’re leaving because everyone in the office is a bunch of backstabbing gossips. Or maybe the leadership team is distant and cold. Just because others are challenging or unprofessional doesn’t mean you have to be.

Respecting others is simply the right thing to do. This is especially important during your last few days on the job. You may want to blast your music and put your feet up, but remember that others around you still have to get their work done.

A – Acknowledge Those Left Behind

If you aren’t the only one unhappy at your job, remember that your leaving may feel like a punch in the stomach to some.

You’ve managed to escape the cubicle confines, and for those left behind, it can feel uncomfortable. You may have been a trusted friend – someone to laugh with at lunch, to share the workload and all the struggles. Acknowledging those friendships is important.

Stay connected with the people you want to maintain relationships with and let them know you’ll still be there on the other side.

C – Clean Up Your Stuff

As best you can, tie up loose ends on any projects you were working on. If you worked in an office or cubicle, clean out your drawers and filing cabinets (and yes, that means ALL the crumbs…even the ones in that bottom drawer). No one wants to inherit a mess.

At one point or another, we’ve all had to make sense of jobs that were ambiguous, messy or unfinished. Don’t make it harder for the next guy. (Job karma has a funny way of coming around!)

E – Enable Others to Succeed

Are there things at work that only YOU know?

Maybe you’re the only one with keys to the supply closet where the printer ink is kept, or you hold the password to all those archived budget spreadsheets. Take the time to share your specific knowledge before you leave. You will be setting others up for success and leaving your position in the best possible state. (And really, do you want them contacting you months down the road? Probably not.)

Leaving a bad job can feel exhilarating and freeing. You may want to stomp your feet, stand on the desk and yell. But try to do that in your head and act with GRACE instead. You’ll feel better when you bump into those nutty co-workers down the road or discover that the crazy boss is now your crazy neighbor!

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Erika is a career development professional with over 15 years of experience in both corporate and higher education settings. Her current role is Assistant Director of Career Education at a private university in Chicago, Illinois. She also works with individuals on strengths discovery, interviewing skills and networking. She can be reached at careerplayground (at) gmail.com