How to quit your job gracefully

At some point in your professional life, you're going to need to call it quits - on a job, that is. Maybe you've found something that's more interesting or pays more. Maybe you're going back to school or changing careers. Or maybe you hate your office and everyone in it and simply can't stand the thought of spending one more day there.

Whatever your reason for quitting your job, there's a right way, and a wrong way, to do it. Do it right, and you'll have great references that can assist you now and in the future. But do it wrong, and you risk earning a black mark on your reputation that could haunt you for years to come.  Read on for some do's and don'ts on how to quit your job with class.

Do give an appropriate amount of notice. 

For most jobs, 2 weeks is the minimum acceptable level of notice, but use your common sense. If you're in an industry where it takes months to recruit and hire new people, don't leave your employer in the lurch by bowing out at the last minute.

Don't tell your coworkers before your boss.

While it can be hard to keep a secret like this from your work friends, resist the temptation to blab; the last thing you need is word getting back to your boss before you've had a chance to say anything. Your friends will understand why you waited to tell them; your boss might not.

Do give your notice in writing. 

While not all workplaces require a written letter of resignation, writing one allows you to control the story of why you quit. It also ensures that you have a written record in case there is some dispute about whether you gave proper notice.

Don't, on the other hand, badmouth your company or your boss. 

Unless you are actively trying to destroy your relationship with your former employer (which is a terrible idea), no good can ever come from saying negative things about them. This goes for letters of resignation, water cooler talk, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. Save the insults and irritation for private venting sessions with family and non-work friends.

Do offer to provide training for your replacement. 

If the person is hired before you leave, you can offer to do the training face-to-face. But even if you are likely to be gone before the next person arrives, you can help out by creating a list of your most important tasks and explaining any that only you are able to do.

Don't leave any loose ends untied.

Make sure to finish any open projects if you can, and, if you can't, make sure you leave behind enough information for the next person to take over. There is nothing more annoying to a former employer than discovering that the person they've been relying on for months, years, or even decades has decided to drop the ball at the last moment, just when there's no one else there to pick it up.