People change jobs for many different reasons. While many do so because they find a better career path, others have to leave because the place of work or the job itself no longer satisfies their needs. Whatever the reason, it is very important to leave on good terms. While it is understandable that this is not always possible, leaving gracefully not only helps you effectively transition from one career opportunity to the next, but also maintain good relationships with your ex-colleagues.

In addition, even though you are moving on, you do not know what the future may hold, or whether you will be in contact with your previous company. There might be the possibility to return to your previous employer or end up working with a previous manager in a different company.

Here are some different tips which can help you in this transition:

  • When possible, give adequate notice

When resigning, it is vital to do so in a dignified and respectful way. It is not fair to inform the company about your departure last minute, as they need to coordinate the work which needs to be done in your absence. First of all, notify your superior first, before informing any other colleagues. Furthermore, if the person replacing you has already been appointed, offer a handover. It is only fair for the other person to know what they are going in for, and after all, it is a good feeling that the legacy you are leaving behind is being taken care of.

  • Employers/management can be a good reference

Wherever you’re going, a good reference is always handy to have. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask your boss and/or manager if they would be willing to give you a reference. Unfortunately, many avoid dealing with references as they may be clouded by feelings of anger, embarrassment, disempowerment, and vulnerability (Smith, 2013).

  • Give a decent farewell

It is always rewarding to know that there is respect between colleagues. Even though many might not be considered friends, it is good to keep positive contact with those you have worked with. Many retain bonds way after they move jobs. Therefore, it is important that before you leave, you take the time to say goodbye decently.

  • Don’t bad mouth colleagues, managers, or bosses

As previously said, you never know your possible career relationships in the future, therefore you need to be cautious. Furthermore, badmouthing others does not say much positive stuff about your character. Regardless of your reason for leaving, do things positively. When talking to people about your previous place of employment, focus on what you have learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the positive experiences you have had.

  • Don’t brag about your new job

Although it is Ok to answer any questions your colleagues might have about your new job, it is wise to focus on your current job, rather than your next opportunity. There is no point in making your soon-to-be ex-colleagues feel bad. Respect those who still and will continue to work for the company once you’re gone.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Ann Julene Hili is a Career Guidance Practitioner with Willingness. She specializes in working with teens and young adults who are in their educational and career transitions. She can be contacted on or call us on 79291817. 


Smith, D. (2013). [Online Exclusive] The Challenge of Getting References | CERIC. CERIC.