“Take this job and shove it.” Is that something you dream about telling your boss? You aren’t alone. Millions of Americans — over half the workforce — are currently thinking about leaving their current job to start their own business.
However, before you boldly tell your employer, “I’m outta here,” make sure you’re prepared to do it the right way. No matter how angry you are at your current employer, the manner in which you make your exit may impact your future success. There are many examples of business owners whose former employer became one of their first customers. Furthermore, you never know when a former colleague may become a decision maker at a potential customer’s company. So here are tips to help you exit with integrity.
Don’t burn bridges. No matter how upset or angry you are, don’t lose your cool. Going on the attack or bad-mouthing the company or your boss is only going to make you look bad. As a new business owner, you want your former employer to speak highly of you.
Give sufficient notice. Even though you are excited about launching your new business, be patient. It’s standard practice to provide at least a two-week notice to your employer. By providing notice to the company, you are giving its management time to determine how to cover your job function. You don’t want to be guilty of leaving the company in a bind. Imagine how you would feel as the business owner if that happened to you. Remember the old saying “Do unto others…”
Put it in writing. Once you’ve made the decision to go out on your own, put your resignation in writing so there is no confusion about when you plan to leave. A verbal resignation may cause confusion. And never resign during an altercation. Be professional.
Ask about benefits. Be sure to ask about any unpaid compensation you are owed. Find out when and how you can expect to receive your money. Also, if you have health care benefits, ask for information regarding your COBRA coverage. Obtaining affordable health insurance as a business owner is difficult, so take advantage of the COBRA coverage if you can.
Get a contact person. Before you leave, make sure you identify a contact person who can be a “go to” person after you are gone. Most likely it will be someone from your company’s human resource department.
Be cooperative. Willingly release any company property you have in your possession. If asked to help train your replacement, do it without complaining. And as long as you are getting paid by the company, continue to fulfill your job requirements professionally.