Granny Wisdom

How to Exit Your Job Gracefully

...even if you've been fired.

The worst economic crisis since The Great Depression that occurred in 2008 sent a lot of people packing home ‘for good’ (or was it ‘for bad’?). The feeling of uncertainty was alarming for everyone whose business targets were far from being achieved. Thankfully, my team was assigned in one of the world’s emerging markets. Having said this, not everyone in our city was spared. I am not a job-hopper, therefore not an expert on this subject. I say this because I lack the experience of regularly moving from one organization to another, so I am ready to hear comments like… “you know, your suggestions are good, however, it is easier said than done,” or “easy for you to say ‘coz you’re not in the same boat as they are,” and so on, and so forth. My suggestions, therefore, are based on professional and ethical standards, and nothing more. So, I would like to apologize in advance if I cannot ‘appear’ genuinely sympathizing with the emotions of people being sent home “for good”.

On other occasions, leaving your job may be for good reasons, especially if you’re offered with a much better package, that you cannot resist signing that handsome employment contract. Consider the following.

Inside Out desk
Photo Credit: Inside Out

Scenario 1: When you want to quit your job

Be thankful for the time you’ve spent so far in your current job, and the confidence your employer has given you. Be grateful for the learning opportunities that you would never have otherwise. This will help you say goodbye gracefully. Honor the terms and conditions of your employment contract. If you need to complete your notice period, by all means, do it. Burning the bridges may jeopardize your relationship and career in future. The work place is such a small world; and with social media at everyone’s disposal, almost every information is out there 24/7.  You wouldn’t like being talked about in a bad way so don’t give anybody a reason to do so.

Scenario 2: When you’ve been fired

Firing an employee does not make an employer happy. Believe me. It is every manager’s nightmare! There is always a genuine reason why it happens. Don’t take it personally. Cliché as it may sound, it is true that when one door closes, another one opens.  Bidding your colleagues goodbye could be the best thing that ever happened to you, for all you know. So say a little prayer. It will help you pack your belongings cheerfully, and wish yourself and everyone, “Godspeed!”


Whatever the scenario, remain calm and act as professional as you did the first time you stepped in at the company you are about to leave. It is important to consider the following.

  1. Ensure that your employment contract termination is legally compliant.
  2. Be cooperative; don’t entertain a grudge.
  3. Inform your colleagues when it is appropriate to do so as per your organization’s terms, and your clients at least two weeks in advance of your departure.
  4. Help your team with the transition by doing a proper work handover, and keeping an open line of communications for at least two weeks or even up to one month should your ex-colleagues need some important information or file after you left.
  5. Take your colleagues to a team lunch on your last working day.
  6. Don’t burn the bridges. Greet your ex-colleagues on special occasions, including birthdays (if you know). A short email will do.



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