Knowing When It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Your Employer (and How to Do It)

time to say goodbye to your employer

Some employees have ants in their pants and never quite settle into their job. Before you know it, they’ve jumped from one company to another. They don’t realize it, or maybe they do and don’t care, but their resume reads like a story about a character with short-timer’s syndrome. On the other hand, there are people who stay with their employer far too long. Ultimately, it does not make professional sense to be a “jumper,” nor does it make sense to be what I call a “job squatter,” a person who occupies a position without any real rights to it (meaning, at the end of the day, a company can eliminate your position if they so choose). That said, when is it a good time to say goodbye to your employer? And what are some justifiable reasons for leaving?

Three Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt (Good) Reasons to Leave Your Empoyer

In my thirty years of finding jobs for people, I have heard almost every reason under the sun as to why a person wants to leave the company they work for. Upon examining their reasons, it seems they most often want out on the following grounds: the absence of respect, lack of recognition, and/or not receiving adequate rewards. On the flipside, a job worth having—and not leaving—is one where your employer respects you, recognizes your individuality and individual contributions, and rewards you in a way that is commensurate with your labors.

workplace disputes Fairness in the workplace can range from issues of inclusiveness to diversity and beyond. Taking steps towards becoming a fairer organisation isn't just good for your employees, it’s good for business too. Here are three important reasons why you should treat your employees with fairness. 

Let me be clear, every job has its fair share of run-of-the-mill garbage that must be dealt with. Work is work; sometimes it is pure drudgery. But that, in and of itself, is no reason to depart. Generic work disenchantment will only be waiting for you at your next job. But when you continually feel disrespected, and/or your uniqueness remains unrecognized, and/or remunerations are dreadfully slow in coming, or never come at all, then, in my opinion, it seems reasonable for one to find the exit.

Other Good Reasons to Part Ways with Your Employer

·         A sixth sense/intuition: Never devalue the importance of a good old-fashioned gut feeling. It could be that those impressions are guiding you in a new direction or pointing to new horizons to explore. Give careful thought to your steps, however. The grass on the other side of the hill may not be as green as you hope it to be.

·         An opportunity has presented itself: Candidates are always being recruited and you may be on someone’s list to call for an open position they are trying to fill. Entertaining job propositions is not cheating on your employer. It’s part the game that must be played for you to be true to your career development goals. And let’s not forget, your employer will downsize you if necessary, so it’s only fair for you to keep all options on the table.

·         You’ve been thinking about entrepreneurship: I believe entrepreneurship is career ownership at its highest level. It’s the best way to be in total control of your career destiny. You would not be the first person to end his or her employment with a company to join the parade of people who built a better mousetrap or offered a better service to the marketplace. If this has been your goal for a while, it might be the right time to go for it.

without a college degree

Four Steps to Help You Part Professionally

Before you move on, here is some sound advice.

First, get your ducks in a row.

In other words, get organized. If you are leaving for another job, make sure you have an offer letter in hand, a start date with your new employer, and all your questions answered about benefits and whatever else is important to you. As best as possible, do your due diligence to minimize surprises. If you’re starting your own company, get incorporated, secure funding, establish a relationship with a bank, identify office space (at home or elsewhere), prepare a potential client list, etc. There’s a lot you can do before leaving.

If possible, avoid burning bridges.

Do your best to exit the company you work for as professionally as you entered it. Resist the temptation to disparage the office with any grievances and gripes you may have. Don’t talk destructively about your boss, co-workers, or the company. Part ways peacefully and wish the company success for the future. Just leave; don’t leave a trail of nastiness.

Offer transitional support.

Think about the person who may be filling your shoes after you leave. Wouldn’t it be great to help them start their job on the right foot? And how impressed would your employer be if you prepared a document outlining steps for the person who assumes your old role to be successful? Talk about leaving a lasting positive impression!!

Express an interest in maintaining contact.

You never know when your paths might cross again. The person you report to today may be looking to hire someone at a different company ten years down the road. Keeping people in your network prevents the potential rupture (and possibly even sadness) associated with parting.

When That Day Comes

Most likely there will come a day when you have to say goodbye to an employer, whether it’s due to dissatisfaction, or advancement, or a change in the company or your personal life. Deciding to leave a job is not wrong. But how you leave says a lot about you. Take care to move on with forethought, good planning, and respectfully, always maintaining a professional posture in the marketplace.

This guest post was authored by Chris Fontanella

Chris Fontanella is the founder of Encore Professionals Group, a professional services firm specializing in the identification and placement of accounting and finance candidates in temporary and full-time positions. He previously served as Division Director for Robert Half International and Client Service Director for Resources Global Professionals. Prior to entering the staffing industry, Fontanella spent years studying theology and preparing for ministry, having received his bachelor of arts degree in New Testament Studies from Oral Roberts University, and his master of arts degree in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Jump-Start Your Career: Ten Tips to Get You Going, and Tune Up Your Career: Tips & Cautions for Peak Performance in the Workplace. Learn more at


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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.