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Quitting your job? Avoid this one big mistake

woman holding a box of her stuff
You don't want to burn bridges when you quit your job. (Source: Getty)

If you plan to quit your job, it may be tempting to spill the beans to your colleagues first.

But, according to a career expert, it’s always worth waiting to have a formal conversation with your hiring manager before telling your team you plan to resign.

The fact you alerted your colleagues first might get back to your manager, which Indeed’s career coach, Sally McKibbin, said may damage your relationship with the team.

“Those people tend to be well connected to so many other people in the industry or the market so, it’s important to be really mindful of things like that,” McKibbin said.

Employees also need to be mindful of maintaining good relationships with former employers, who may become referees for future jobs.

McKibbin also said leaving a job on bad terms may limit your ability to return to the organisation in the future, with the “boomerang employee” becoming an increasingly common phenomenon.

She recommended a professional exit wherever possible, which included writing a resignation letter and asking your direct manager for a meeting to resign privately.

She said good timing could also go a long way and that, While there was often “no good time for someone to resign”, if you could hold off until after an exceptionally busy period, your employers would remember and appreciate the gesture.

What exactly should I say when I quit?

Providing fair feedback when you quit your job can keep you in good graces with your former employer.

While McKibbin advised against “getting into a slogging match” about things you were unhappy about in the role, she said employers tended to appreciate an honest reason for seeking new opportunities.

For example, if you were interested in progressing into a management or leadership position and your workplace didn’t have a clear pathway to advance, your employer would appreciate this explanation.

“Your current employer will understand that you need to go and take new opportunities if they don't exist within the organisation that you’re in,” McKibbin said

She also recommended maintaining a positive relationship with your employer by thanking them for the opportunity and the skills and knowledge you’d gained working there.

‘The Great Realisation’

One in five Australians quit their jobs in the past year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, with another 24 per cent considering a change but failing to take action.

The latest figures from February this year show people still have an appetite for new challenges, with 10 per cent of employees expecting to change workplaces by the end of the year.

“That’s a lot of people when we start thinking about how many people are in the workforce at the moment,” McKibbin said.

While people often call this period of job mobility ‘The Great Resignation’, she prefers to call it ‘The Great Realisation’.

By that, she means job seekers have been more focused on what they could get from their employers, rather than vice versa, over the past few years.

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