Tips on Leaving the Workplace With Your Professional Connections in Tact

We all leave a job at some point in our lives. Reasons vary and include things like moving to a new area, needing a higher salary, and even starting a new business. These professional separations are supposed to be cordial events, but feelings can get hurt along the way.

Today, we’ll take a dive into a few ways to keep your relationship with your current employer on friendly terms as you move on to your next endeavor.

Why Leave on Good Terms?

According to Indeed, there are a host of reasons that leaving your job on good terms is good for you. This is especially true if you remain in an industry where you’re likely to come into contact with your former coworkers, subordinates, or managers. Furthermore, your former employer may be called upon for a reference, and you don’t want negative feedback if you can help it. Just as importantly, making a clean cut on a positive note will reduce stress on you as well as your employer and coworkers.

Leaving to Start Your Own Business

Leaving a long-term job to become an entrepreneur is a perfectly reasonable event. However, your employer may see you as a potential new competitor. Talk to them well ahead of time, and assure them that their trade secrets will remain intact. You may be asked to sign a nondisclosure so that they have the assurance that you won’t divulge their secrets in an effort to sway investors to invest in you and not them. Be cautious here that you do not also sign a noncompete agreement that might bar you from opening a business in the same industry. Although you won’t be able to use your current job dietary processes, if your entrepreneurial endeavor is in the same field, you don’t want to inadvertently put yourself in a position where starting your business will cause a legal battle between you and your future ex-employer

As a side note here, when you get ready to start your own business, you’ll want to write a business plan that includes financial projections, your business structure, and other information that can help you succeed. Be cautious that your business plan does not so closely mimic your employer. Even if you have not signed a noncompete agreement, you might be accused of stealing intellectual property. It’s also a good idea to write processes and your business plan that help differentiate you internally from the business you’re leaving. One idea here is to use a different invoicing process – you can find free invoice templates online – that you can customize to match your brand. Not only will this help differentiate you, but professional invoices are also a great way to ensure you get paid on time and for the right amount.

Talk to the HR Department

No matter the reasons that you plan to leave, it’s a smart idea to discuss an exit strategy with your company’s HR department. HR staff may wish to consult their human resources support team before scheduling this conversation, so be patient. Be prepared to answer questions about why you’re leaving. Your feedback and insight might help your business retain employees in the future. Further, this is a great opportunity to gauge how receptive your company may be to you coming back on staff later on if things don’t work out for you once you make your departure.

Put It in Writing

Many formal jobs will request a resignation letter. Monster explains that this is essentially two weeks’ notice, and it outlines your intent to leave and intended last day and expresses your gratitude for the time that you had at your current employer. By putting it in writing, there is no question of your intentions, and, in most cases, you’ve given your employer enough time to look for a replacement. If possible, offer to stay and help with training.

Listen to Their Counter

Depending on your position and how long you’ve been in the role, your employer may bring a counteroffer to the table. This may be a pay raise, better hours, a more flexible schedule, or other desired amenities. Listen to their offer carefully, but be prepared to be professional and yet firm if it’s truly time to go.

It also helps you negotiate with your next employer, especially if you want to get hired competitor your former-employer. It will give you an edge and better insight.


Regardless of the reasons, sometimes, we all leave a job. Keep in mind, however, that there’s no reason to burn bridges as you may find yourself in a position to need a job again in the future, especially if you’re leaving to start your own business, as many startups don’t make it past the 12-month mark (For the greatest chance of success here, make sure you get your invoices paid on time and have a plan in writing!). Even if you’re destined for success, there’s no reason to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, as you never know when your former connections may help you in your future endeavors.

Feature image by Pixabay

Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!