Believe it or not, leaving is twice as complicated as coming on board.  And, as far as opinion is concerned, I think this is what should be written in resumes (instead of the accomplishments).

If you're not a fresh graduate, I'm sure you've experienced moving from one company to another.  The experienced of a new environment is always promising.  But did you enjoy your exit?

As a professional, I've experienced jumping from one company to another.  I can say I've been quite good with building my character in every workplace, and I left very gracefully.  However, not all went out well for me.  I did experience something really bad that made me act very foolishly and accounted to one of my few regrets in life.

Let me tell you my story first.

I went indefinitely absent from college without any notice, during my third year.  We were in a financial crisis and no one can send me to school anymore while my own savings too were trivial for a decent schooling fee.  So, I got depressed, hunted for work and left school without any paperwork done.  So, I just had my confidence and my skill to bring with me.  I applied to several companies and got hired as a programmer.  I was good at the job, so they eventually fired my partner.  Sheez.  During these times, I was underpaid (and I knew I was but didn't complain because I was an undergraduate student).  However, to my surprise they were assigning me to train new people and manage some new projects.

Although the opportunity seemed exciting, the leftist in me felt like they were abusing me.  Aside from the fact that they were coercing me to stay for overtime which were not really accounted for, I felt that their new found gold (in me) can be stretched in ways they thought I wouldn't recognize as a form of abuse.  Unfortunately for them, I stopped thinking and tried to move on.

I heard about certain rumors which made me aware that I was really in a position that was in the losing end.  So, instead of putting myself in their mercy, I verified my rights against labor code and spoke to the president.  I did leave a threat to them and they had to appease me (which means they were guilty).  The money that I gathered from that incident was, comparing it to today's market, could've bought me two HTC high end phones.  Just do the math :)

So, that's my story.  That's my regret.  Why?  I didn't lose anything that day.  I gained boost in my ego and money to support my and my sister's schooling; but, it did leave me with a bad memory.

Now, let's look at you.  You want to leave? Go ahead, no one's stopping you.  Hmm, I mean, your manager is going to stop you.  70-80% of the time, they are going to stop you.  If you think you're worth more than that, then by all means possible, they are going to stop you.  Now what do you need to do in that case?  Here are some thoughts and guidelines.

How to exit gracefully:

  • Do ask your self several questions before you decide.  Is this what you really want?

This is probably not the best question for #1, however, if you can't answer this, you should just go back to work instead.  Maybe you are thinking too much.  :P

If you're looking for ways to get an increase, threatening the company is not a good option.  Not to mention is unethical and unprofessional, you're wasting your superiors' time.

  • Why do you want to leave?

I'm pretty sure, this is the simplest question ever that you'll have to answer.  Take an hour or two to answer this TRUTHFULLY.  There are times that skipping this question will bring you to fabricate lies and try to live on it.  I will surely tell you, your manager is not a fool.  So, don't risk looking like a big fool when telling your lie to your manager.

Be diligent and write down what you honestly wanted / hated in your experience with your company.  I have a newsflash for you.  This is what is called the "exit interview".

  • Do you think your timing is great?

Don't leave if you have financial obligations to finish and you've got some other things lined up.  Also think of the context that you might be leaving on a very crucial moment for your team.  This does make a very bad impression.

  • Don't resign via email, chat, post its.  Do it in person.

No matter how bright and valuable an employee you are to your company, not appearing in person makes a huge compromise in future bridges and connections.  Talk to your superiors and communicate it properly.

  • Are you leaving a bad context in your departure?

Don't chatter and go.  Your own experience and opinion may really be yours alone.  The truth is, talking and leaving a bad context in your departure will definitely carve out a hole on your profile.

  • When you go, don't take other people with you.

Again, if you're confused on the real reason why you're leaving, go back to #2.  Your anger and idea of what might have been bad for you does not (and I'm sure of it) apply to everyone.  So, do yourself the favor of not handling the next resignation angst and don't take them with you.

Be respectful at least that the company you're leaving took you in when you needed them.

  • Provide ample notice of your resignation.

This communicates your good faith in the company and in the direct circle of people you worked with.  You should give them time to adjust to either wait for someone to replace your position or at least transition to temporarily absorbing your workload into their schedule.

As a manager, I've experienced inelegant resignations.  All, from lying, creating conflicts, wasting your time and effort, and even up to insulting you or your bosses!

How about you?  What are your checklist before deciding to call it quits?

Want to hear some of the worst ways others have done their exits other than 'gracefully'? here you go and enjoy: