Leaving A Job In The Most Polite Way Possible

Posted by Wednesday, January 14, 2015 1 2

There is nothing like finding your dream job, except maybe finding it so soon into your professional life. Even though the position is probably still an entry level one, you are getting the chance to work for a company you love, doing what you love, every day. Such an opportunity presented itself to me about a month ago when I landed a long-term internship with one of my favorite magazines.

I couldn’t have been more excited, as journalism jobs are few and far between these days, and the only real way to start out at a publication is through a very strong, writing-heavy internship. Contrary to what some movies will have you believe…

The only problem I faced was how to leave my current position without burning any bridges. You see I absolutely loved everyone at my old job. I was so grateful that they had given me the opportunity to become acclimated with the professional world of Los Angeles, while earning a steady paycheck, and even wanted me to stay on when my original intern cycle was coming to an end.

But they knew that, while I loved working with them and had agreed to stay on, my true love was journalism and I was continuing to seek a position in that field. They had made it clear they were in support of my job hunt, but when I finally received the call that I had landed that coveted position, I was terrified to tell them. Because I had never dealt with the awkward situation of leaving a job before.

I had only ever had internships that just “ended.” Those weren’t awkward to leave, as they had always had an expiration date. But when I made a commitment to stay on with them and then quickly received that offer, I suddenly felt that leaving was a betrayal.

So even though I had never dealt with leaving a job for another one before, I knew immediately that I owed this company and these people my gratitude and respect. So here is how I handled it in the most graceful way possible.

How I Politely Left My Old Job For My Current One

  1. I immediately notified my direct supervisor of the new job offer, when I was expected to start, and asked what she would need for me in terms of paperwork or an exit interview. This was not a particularly easy step, as I was actually offered the position right before the company closed for the holidays. So I sent an email the day after Christmas and then followed up with a phone call two days later.
  2. When I received an email response from her (filled with excitement and congratulations for the opportunity) I quickly followed up with a request to come in and say goodbye to all my coworkers and superiors. I had been unable to do so properly when leaving for the holidays, as I thought it was just a TTFN situation at the time and I wanted the chance to do it right. She said of course and we set a date and time for me to come in.
  3. She sent a company wide email informing everyone I would not be back, and the excellent and exciting reason why. Now this wasn’t my doing of course. But I really think it showed that I was handling this situation appropriately, as she was clearly excited and proud of me. And so were a lot of other people in their response emails.
  4. I came into the office bearing cupcakes for the team and thank you notes for my direct superiors and the company’s executives. You could say this wasn’t necessary but I think it absolutely was. I wanted them to know how grateful I was for the opportunities they had given me and how much I enjoyed the time I had spent there. And when I made the rounds I found that everyone was both happy for me and sad to see me go. I was touched, and again, felt I had handled this situation correctly.
  5. I promised to stay in contact and keep everyone up to date with my progress at my new job. This is something that everyone should be able to promise in the days of LinkedIn and Facebook, so you have absolutely no excuse for not following through with this one. Furthermore, it is only to your own detriment to not remain connected to your previous coworkers and bosses. You never know when those connections will come in handy again.

So that is how I ended up leaving a job in what I considered the most graceful way possible. It may not be how others would do it. But I felt like I did it right and because of that I can enjoy my new job while keeping the fond memories of my old.

1 Comment
  • C. L. Phagan
    January 21, 2015

    Great ideas for anyone of any age! Thank you for posting!

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