14 June 2020

Planning Your Exit Strategy From the Job You Dislike

We've all worked jobs we've wanted to escape to save our sanity and focus on the future right? Some of us might even be working in such jobs today and, due to recent circumstances have begun to re-evaluate our ambitions moving forward. 

In an ideal world exiting a job and moving on would be entirely a positive experience, your boss would have lots of praise for you, your colleagues will miss you and, the skills you've learnt have been invaluable. Or, you might simply detest your job, hate your colleagues and your experience has been nothing but a negative. 

Regardless of how you feel about the work itself, you might have concluded in recent months that you seek a better work-life balance, or are simply looking to try something a little different after a stint on furlough, making the need to develop an exit strategy from your current role crucial. In fact, the way we behave in the weeks leading up to our last day can have a major impact, which is why it's so important to make a clean exit with no fuss or drama!

So, what exactly can we do to make sure we get a good reference and can leave our job with a clear conscience? 

Be mindful of what you say, and more specifically who you say things to

Whether your intentions are good or you're actively being a gossip, this behaviour is unhelpful for everyone, especially you.

It's so easy to find ourselves wrapped up in conversations at work we'd rather not be involved in but, here we are sharing our opinions and instantly regretting it (I hope). I've accidentally done this so many times and it's got me into trouble in the past. 

What we need to realise is that yes everyone loves a little work-related gossip and, sure it might make the day go a little faster but, no it's not acceptable because more often than not, the person being talked about has no idea what's going on and it's cruel. Sadly, it's an unavoidable aspect of every job but, we should try to minimise our part in this hateful culture. In particular, we can achieve this through distancing ourselves from colleagues we know are particularly malicious or rude.

If for whatever reason you do end up trapped in such a negative conversation, don't draw attention to yourself. Try not to allow yourself to get absorbed and shrug off any bitchiness you encounter by not sharing your own opinions on the subject. 

Do a good job, come home, and plan your future. 

Keep your decision to yourself

We all have friends at work that we might feel confident divulging our opinions to but, trust me, telling everyone you want to leave/feel unhappy / have found a new job is entirely foolish. Your manager needs to hear from you personally that you're feeling unfulfilled and are moving on. The last thing you'd want was to receive the scary "we need to have a meeting email" before you've had a chance to prepare and finalise your plans. In worst-case scenarios, you might be asked to exit the company on their terms due to your behaviour, which is not what we want people!

Schedule and plan your resignation

Whether you have a new job lined up or you're just leaving on a whim, organisation is key through every stage.

First, the most important thing you need to consider when drafting your resignation and writing your letter is the date you hand in your notice. Think about this very carefully. Whether you have to give a weeks notice, a month, or three months, you need to make sure that you're able to afford your outgoing and you can cope financially between your last paycheck at your current job and the first paycheck at your next.

Moving forward in terms of actually handing in your notice, you should request a meeting for a convenient time e.g. the end of the working week, or the end of your shift. By handing in your notice in person, you will appear much more professional and this shows a level of confidence your manager will always appreciate. 

However, I would make sure to have your notice also written down in the form of a letter which you can hand to your manager at the start of your meeting. This letter should map out exactly what your terms are including, the reason you are unhappy and are resigning, the exact date of this letter, the meeting and, the date you intend to leave. Make sure that all of this information is documented very clearly in order to avoid any confusion in the coming weeks before your departure. This will also help if you're feeling horribly nervous during your meeting and are struggling to vocalise your feelings.

Close the door with no bad blood

Basically don't be the arse who decides to do absolutely zero work on their last day or worse, make the lives of your colleagues harder by somehow messing up their caseload or purposely being rude to a big client. 

Leave by thanking the staff who have supported you and having a good cry, or simply stay quiet, take a deep breath, get through the day and run faster than you've ever run before at the end of your shift. 

Look back with no regrets and get yourself a good reference!


  1. Thank you for these! I was planning to move to another job but then COVID-19 happened. Thankfully I haven't resigned and I still have a job during pandemic haha. Will take note of this for future reference.

  2. Loved this post Kate! I'll be looking back on this whenever I decide to leave my job! x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk


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