By Jim Wong, CPA | September 9, 2015

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. — Maya Angelou

At some point in an accounting, finance or IT professional’s career, there comes a time when you feel the need to resign and move on to another company. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as wanting to expand your experience, some sort of grievance or simply needing a change.

Therefore, when it comes time to quit your job, it’s best to do so tastefully so that you can preserve your integrity, career and reputation. Ultimately, you don’t want to burn any bridges.

Sometimes, though, if emotions become too involved, I’ve witnessed resignations that were not done in the best manner – leaving an uncomfortable tension for all involved. That’s why, when I came across an article, I thought it was best to share a few of the rules they discuss for quitting your position most appropriately.

1. Keep it quiet: Unless you’re a c-level accounting, finance or IT team member, it’s best to keep your thoughts about the company to yourself. Don’t post any negative opinions to social media sites like Glassdoor or send nasty company-wide emails. Your words will remain public for a long time and they’ll be a reflection of your character to any future employer.

2. Give two weeks’ notice but be prepared to leave immediately: There’s no guarantee that an employer will keep you around for your final two weeks. If they do, be sure to be as helpful as possible in the transition by documenting materials necessary for your successor. It’s best to make a good impression even on your way out of the company.

3. Be cautious with the reason you give for leaving: It’s important to know what to say to your manager when you are quitting your job. It’s acceptable to reiterate issues you had brought up in the past as a reason for leaving, or if you wanted a higher salary. However, it’s not a good time to bring up any matters that have never been discussed. It’s also not a good idea to admit that you hate your boss and co-workers. If that’s the case, that’s fine, but say something along the lines of, “I had another opportunity that was too good to pass up.”

4. Keep in touch with former colleagues, but don’t gripe about the company: Keeping a network of past colleagues is always a smart thing to do. You might have made close acquaintances and connections that you don’t want to lose contact with. Therefore, keep in touch in the future but avoid complaining about your former manager to them. You never know who the gossip will get back to that could affect you in some way.

5. Return everything: Return your keys, security cards, laptop or any other items that were given to you by the company. The last thing you want is for something to go missing and to get the blame placed on you. Additionally, give your manager any important logins or passwords they might not have had but that could help in the transition.

6. Ask for feedback: When you get close to your last day, consider getting feedback on your strengths and weaknesses from your manager, leaders and stakeholders. If their feedback is positive, you might want to think about asking for a letter of recommendation or a LinkedIn recommendation.

7. Avoid going to a competitor: When you leave a company and head to a competitor, you automatically run the risk of raising legal and ethical issues. Further, you don’t know if the new company is only looking for insight and then plan to fire you. There’s no promise that they’ll keep you around for the long haul, and in a way, you’ve proven yourself to be untrustworthy.

8. Stay calm: This is a no-brainer, but it’s important to reiterate: it’s always good to have a rational state of mind when you’re ready to quit your job. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, stay calm and proceed rationally.

9. Put in your notice when you make your decision: When you realize that it’s time for you to resign and move on, tell your manager immediately. There’s no good reason to stay longer than planned. Make a decision and follow through with it. It’ll only get uncomfortable for you if you know you’ll be leaving soon but continue to go into the office.

What are some other rules to tactfully resign from an accounting, finance or IT role? Comment below and let us know.

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