Sometimes it’s an easy choice to leave a company. However, one of the most important choices that you can make in your career is to leave your employer in the right way. Like any other relationship, there are faults and virtues with every company. At the end of a relationship, people tend to focus on the faults. Here are some dos and don’ts for leaving a job. 

DON’T burn bridges: It is indeed a small world and if you leave your past job having expressed hard feelings to your former bosses you may be shooting yourself in the foot. There may be a link between your old company and the one you are trying to secure a new position from. 

DO write and give a simple resignation letter to your immediate boss and, perhaps, your Human Resources Director, if appropriate: By putting a few key items in writing, it memorializes your intention to leave the company. It also gives you a chance to pre-play the discussion with your boss. The letter should include the following: your last day on the job, open items that you need to complete prior to leaving, and any work that you will need to pass off to someone else. 

DON’T say anything negative about your former employer or anyone working for the company: While this is a good policy to employ at all times, it is even more critical when you are leaving. Disgruntled employees may seek you out during this time to air their negative feelings about the company or people working for the company. Resist the temptation to entertain these conversations. It is likely that your comments will be shared with others. 

DO give as much advance notice as possible to allow for a smooth transition: Typically, this is two to four weeks. Use your best judgment to decide how long you will need to give keeping in mind what’s best for the company. Be aware that it is also possible that the company will ask you to leave immediately, especially if you’re going to work for a competitor. This is nothing personal and should not be considered an insult. 

DO work hard until you leave: It’s perfectly natural to get “short-timer’s disease” as you have already mentally moved onto the new position. You should work hard right up until you walk out the door. 

DON’T take anything that is not yours: Whether it’s a stapler, a book that belongs to the company, copy paper, or paper clips leave them behind. While you’re at it, tidy up your workspace a bit. 

DO make yourself available for your replacement: If your employer hires your replacement before you leave, offer to train them. Even after you have departed, it’s a good idea to leave a phone number where you can be reached with times that it is acceptable to call. 

DON’T abuse e-mail, the telephone, or the Internet during your last days: Be sure to keep your communication as professional as you did during your tenure. 

There’s no reason that your split with your old company has to be acrimonious. If you are careful to maintain a good reputation with the company, their suppliers, their customers, and employees it will pay off considerably. It may not happen right away, but your paths may even cross again. As an executive assistant staffing company in NYC, we can tell you that employers highly value these skills and depend on new hires to bring them to the table when they start out. Our executive assistant staffing firm in NYC works with some of the top firms in the area.