Planning an escape from your current job? Everyone will face this task at least once -- or more likely several times -- over the course of a lifetime. You don't want to burn any bridges when you leave. After all, you may want to return to that employer someday, or you may cross paths with your soon-to-be ex-colleagues in another organization.
"Healthcare really is a small world," says Jane Johnson, senior staffing consultant at Cigna Behavioral Health in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. "We never know who we're going to encounter again in another setting."
What can you do to make sure you leave your job with grace and also leave old coworkers and supervisors remembering you fondly? Here are some tips for a graceful resignation.
Under no circumstances should a direct caregiver walk out of a job during the middle of a shift. Quitting in the heat of a bad moment could jeopardize both your patients' health and your professional license.
Think Before You Jump
Even if you're not a direct caregiver, it's unwise to quit your job without another position lined up or a realistic idea of the timeline of a solid job search, says Penny Webb, a career management consultant in Baltimore.
The first person you inform of your resignation should be your boss, so he doesn't hear it from someone else. Deliver the news in person with a short resignation letter in hand, Webb advises.
Explain diplomatically why you are leaving. "The basic message to be conveyed is 'nothing personal,' even if that is not the case," says Patrick Lennahan, director of the career center at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. "The best reasons to give for leaving are new challenges, more money, new location, changes in personal or family circumstances, and career advancement."
Take the High Road
Resist the impulse to unload any long-held feelings about coworkers or the boss. "This is no time for catharsis, particularly if you will still work in that field or the local area," Lennahan says.
Give Generous Warning
Offer as much notice as you can. "They might not need it, and you'll look good offering," Webb advises. "The company waiting for you should be content to wait and grateful that you would give an employer such consideration." If your new company is not content to wait, Webb recommends taking a closer look at the company culture to make sure you would be comfortable there.
Learn more about healthcare careers.