When the time comes for you to quit your job, it's good to ensure that you do so properly. You don’t need to unnecessarily burn any bridges that you might need later on. Proper planning will help you ensure that you are able to count on the employer for a good reference. Use these tips to help you create a plan that puts your best interests first without alienating your current employer or casting a negative light on your future employer.

Line Up a New Job

Unless you are leaving your job due to an emergency, it is a good idea to line up a new one before you quit. This is a fine balancing act because you need to let the new employer know that you are going to have to put in your notice with your current employer. However, this does show your future boss that you are a responsible employee and that you are leaving on good terms. Be clear about when you will be available and be prepared to talk to your current employer right away.

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Discuss Your Departure with Your Manager First

Always let your manager or human resources department know about your resignation before you talk to co-workers about it. Not only is this a good way to avoid gossip in the workplace, but it also gives you a chance to explain the reason for your departure directly to the people who need to know about it. This is also a good way to protect your reputation and possibly shore up the chance of a favorable reference.

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Provide a Written Notice of at Least Two Weeks

Even if you provide a verbal notice, it's still a good idea to hand in a written statement. The minimum amount of time you should give about your resignation is two weeks. If possible, you can give even more time so that the employer can find a suitable replacement. This might not be necessary if your position isn’t a highly skilled or specialized one.

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Ask Your Current Employer for a Reference

When your time at the company is nearing its end, possibly in the final few days, ask for a letter of reference. While some employers won’t provide this, others will gladly do so as a show of goodwill. Some future employers might opt to contact the employer instead of accepting a written reference, so ask if this is acceptable. This is also a good time to find out exactly who should be contacted and how they would like to be contacted.

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Train Your Replacement, if Necessary

Taking the time to show your replacement the ropes might seem strange; however, you are probably the best person for the job. Do your best and help them along by showing them what to do. Not only does this show that you truly care about the company even though you are leaving, it is a good boost toward the likelihood that you will be able to get a favorable reference from the employer.

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Handle Any Tasks Related to Benefits

Company benefits are often worth a considerable amount. Find out what you need to do about the benefits that are offered. You might have special steps to take for making sure that you retain control of retirement accounts. You will also need to know about continuing health insurance until you are eligible for that benefit at the new company.

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Return Any Company Property You Have

Before you leave, return any company property that you are entrusted with during the course of your employment. This might be uniforms, keys, client lists, computers or other devices. Make sure that you have something showing that you returned them so that nobody can come back later and claim that you failed to do so.

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Avoid Speaking Negatively About the Employer

Even if you had negative experiences at the company, don’t speak negatively about it. Not only can complaining about a former employer make you seem like a troublemaker, but there is also a chance that you might get accused of slander. Additionally, you never know if you will need something from that company again, so it is best to stay in good standing with the people there.

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Abide by All Employment Contract Terms

Some positions come with employment contracts. Make sure that you abide by the terms in yours if you have one. This might include a non-disclosure agreement that limits your ability to discuss the terms of your employment. It can also include confidentiality clauses that make it impossible for you to discuss specific aspects of the company or non-compete clauses that require you to avoid working for direct competitors for a specific time frame after you leave the company.

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Collect your final paycheck

The terms of a final paycheck depend on your state. Some states require that the employer pay your final wages on the next scheduled pay date. Others have specific time limits for the final payment. For the most part, you can expect that payment to come on a regular payday; however, there might be special terms for the payment of commission or bonuses. Review the company’s pay policies to learn about what to expect when you quit your job.

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