Who hasn’t sat in their cubicle, stared at their computer screen and daydreamed of quitting their job?

If you’re one of them, you’re not alone. If you take the plunge (and it can be terrifying) there are a few things you need to check off before you tell your boss “see ya!”


The most important thing on this list. Unless you’re quitting your current job to go to another one or are planning on starting your own business, then you need to have enough money.

Experts used to say three months of living expenses should be enough but with the economy still not quite as vibrant, it might be better to have at least six months of living expenses saved before you quit.

Money isn’t the only thing you should do before you quit. We’re not recommending you quit in a haze of rage – after all, you might want a reference later on. Human Resources expert Sarah Paul offers some tips to make quitting your job as professional as possible.

Always Have a Plan

Quitting in a haze of glory only works in the movies. As Paul says, “It is never professional to walk out and there will be very few situations that would warrant this type of drastic action.”

She recommends that if you are leaving, it is always a good idea to have a job lined up.  She said, “Gaps on a resume are very hard to justify to a new employer and if you start getting desperate, recruiters can smell it a mile away.  Once you have determined you are going to quit, start to quietly network and get the word out that you are looking, interview headhunters and find one you connect with.  Then let him or her do the legwork”

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Paul says, “Take a step back and make sure you are not acting out of emotion.  No job is perfect and no boss is a dream. Think of all the reasons you took the job and what you used to love about it.  Instill excitement and challenge by taking on another project, join a task force/committee or asking for additional responsibilities. As with any relationship, being happy in your job takes work.  Don’t bail at the first sign of distress.”

Consider the Pros and Cons

Paul calls it a force field analysis. She suggests making a pro and con list of your job. If the cons outweigh the pros, then she suggests creating your exit strategy.

Consider Talking to a Lawyer and Other Professionals

We’re not saying anything bad will happen but talking to a labour lawyer might make the transition easier because you’ll be fully informed about what to expect in terms of remaining salaries, vacation days and benefits. It couldn’t hurt to talk to a Human Resources professional as well, just not one involved in the same company

Keep it Quiet

Companies are notorious for gossip. You don’t want to be the latest hot topic – it could affect your relationship with the company, affect your references and make your leaving unpleasant. Don’t tell anyone until you officially resign. After that, remain professional and don’t indulge the curiosity of your soon-to-be ex-colleagues.

Have a good story  

Paul says, “Always tell people that the reason you are leaving is because you were looking for a job that aligned with your career goals.  Do not tell people that you wanted more money or that you hated your boss.  Focus on the positive and spin it in a way that makes you look assertive and in control of your career.  Create a list of all of the things you accomplished in your position and what you learned.  Make sure you communicate how you can use these skills and accomplishments to add value in the new role.”

… and finally, leave on good terms.  You never know when you may find yourself working with those former colleagues or when you might need a reference. As Paul said, “No matter how big you think the city or industry is… it’s not.”

Do you have any other tips to make quitting easier? Share with us in the comments.