How to Avoid Burning Bridges Before Resigning from Your Job

Maybe you feel stagnant or you’re seeking a more meaningful career. Maybe you want to escape a toxic culture or put a continent between you and your boss. Whatever your reasoning may be, there’s a good chance that practical matters are causing you to temporarily shelve handing in your 2-week notice – like needing to collect your quarterly bonus or waiting to hear back from a company you’ve interviewed with.

So what happens when you’ve mentally checked out, but circumstances require you to remain planted in your cubicle? As difficult as it may be, you still have to show up to your daily grind prepared to work as if it were just another Tuesday. Before you roll your eyes, let me tell you why it’s so important to act as if a pending resignation doesn’t exist.

To Maintain Strong Professional Relationships

If you’re harboring a negative attitude and treating your colleagues poorly because you’ve convinced yourself that they will soon be a distant memory, think again. How you act before you announce your departure will be the last impression you make on your employer and coworkers and leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth can only hurt you down the road. This is especially true if you’re part of a team and have decided to start slacking off because you no longer feel invested in their success. In reality, your colleagues are relying on you to pull your own weight, and jeopardizing the team’s progress or thwarting their ability to achieve certain goals shows incredibly poor sportsmanship. Plus, if you burn bridges, you can kiss those glowing references goodbye.

Your Apathy Will Draw Attention

Once you put your lack of interest on display, it will begin attracting negative attention. When your work gets sloppy and careless because you’re putting little effort into what you do, your coworkers and manager will start to notice. If you choose to slack off, you might as well climb up on your desk, bang some cymbals together, and announce that you will be making a grand exit in the near future. The last thing you want to do is clue your employer into the fact that you’re searching for a new job. This could quickly squash your reputation and leave your company feeling disgruntled rather than leaving on a high note.

You May Get Cold Feet

We often take things for granted. As the age-old saying goes, “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” While this won’t always be the case, there are many instances where the job search and interview process yields an unexpected conclusion: you don’t actually want to leave your company. Maybe it was pure curiosity that triggered your initial desire to explore other opportunities. Or maybe, it simply boiled down to having a conversation with your manager to discuss ways you can take on more responsibility. Whether you end up choosing to make the leap or not, you certainly don’t want to share the news with one of your close work buddies and wind up having it spread through the office like gossip wildfire.

It’s okay to be buzzing with excitement over your decision to leave, but if you let the news slip before you’ve received an official offer from another company, it could wind up damaging relationships – not to mention, put you in an incredibly awkward situation. You want to be in control of how you communicate your departure to your manager rather than involuntarily joining a game of Telephone and hoping the right message makes it to the end of the line.

Final Words of Advice

If you’ve made the decision to resign, but are not quite ready to hand in your notice, it’s important to continue giving 110% at work each day. Displaying a lack of interest and letting work slip through the cracks will only breed negativity and cause you to leave your employer on bad terms – which is never a good thing. Plus, you never know what opportunities may arise to learn new skills or network with other professionals as you’re waiting for your next big job adventure to begin.

Michele Loizzi Written by:

Michele Loizzi is the Director of Recruitment Marketing Services at Human Edge.

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